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Archive for Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Jackpot: Sonics give Allen big deal

Sharpshooter shops around, stays put for $85 million

July 6, 2005

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— All-Star guard Ray Allen gauged his value on the free-agent market before asking the Seattle SuperSonics for a fair deal.

Turns out, a 30-year-old shooting guard coming off his best season is worth about $17 million a year.

Allen agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract extension with Seattle on Tuesday, his agent said. The contract includes $80 million in salary and $5 million in bonuses, although terms of the bonuses and the yearly breakdown of salary haven't been determined.

Allen became a free agent July 1 and cannot sign the deal until the free-agent signing period begins July 22. His agent, Lon Babby, said Allen planned to sign the contract at the first available moment. Allen will turn 30 on July 20.

"When Ray became a free agent and had chance to explore opportunities, we were able to report back to the Sonics on what the market was dictating, and they essentially responded accordingly," Babby said during a conference call. "We tried to get it done over these many months, but both sides needed verification from the marketplace."

Seattle spokesman Marc Moquin said the team couldn't comment on the agreement.

Allen's contract expired at midnight Friday, and the response from other teams was swift. Babby said when he got into his office that morning, his voice mail was full of messages from interested suitors.

That day, Babby and Allen held conference calls with interested teams in Babby's Washington, D.C., office. Some of the teams had room under the salary cap, while others were seeking possible sign-and-trade options.

"It was a tremendous amount of interest," Babby said. "It was gratifying to Ray in the sense of where he stood."

The pair then went back to the Sonics.

Allen earned about $14 million last season, and Seattle could have given him a maximum $97 million, five-year extension. The two sides tried to negotiate a new deal during the regular season and started talks again after the playoffs.

"It took a long, long time, but except for momentary lapses, it was a completely amicable process," Babby said. "I think Ray comes back to Seattle with a peace of mind now that he's seen what is out there and decided the best place for him is in Seattle."

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