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Archive for Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Webber Watch heating up in Sacramento

July 4, 2001

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— Geoff Petrie says he honestly doesn't mind spending a long, hot summer waiting for Chris Webber to make up his mind.

Three days into the free agent negotiating period, the Sacramento Kings are still unsure where they stand with Webber, who last season became the franchise's first All-NBA selection in 25 years.

Petrie, the Kings' vice president of basketball operations, traded for Webber three seasons ago knowing he would become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

After leading the Kings to three winning seasons the franchise's longest stretch of success in nearly four decades Webber is free to determine his next playing destination.

"We've made all the contacts with his people," Petrie said Tuesday. "We're waiting to move forward whenever he wants to."

While Sacramento is among the strongest contenders for Webber's services, Petrie hasn't spoken directly to Webber. He was among the 12 to 15 executives who announced their intentions to Webber's representatives.

"It's his ball and his bat, and he gets to throw the first pitch, too," Petrie said. "We're comfortable with that."

In his first public comments since the free agency period began, Webber had little to say. He told The Sacramento Bee on Monday night that nothing has changed since the postseason, which ended with a second-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I'll just say this: I didn't realize how serious all this (free agency) was until 12:01," Webber said, referring to the July 1 deadline. "That's all I want to say about it. Right now, I'm in the same position that I've been in. I don't know what I'm going to do."

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