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Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Deal is for five years, agent says

By Chad Ford
ESPN Insider

Ray Allen was wooed by LeBron James, Mike Dunleavy and the Atlanta Hawks for the last five days. In the end, he decided that there was no place like home.

Ray Allen
Shooting Guard
Seattle SuperSonics
Profile
2004-2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
78 23.9 4.4 3.7 .428 .883

Allen's agent, Lon Babby, said Tuesday morning that Allen has agreed to terms with the Sonics on a five-year deal. The contract would be for $80 million over five years with an additional $5 million in performance bonuses.

"We did wander in the desert for a while, before we got to the promise land," Babby said in a conference call with reporters. "When Ray became a free agent and we had a chance to explore opportunities, we were able to report back to the Sonics on what the market was dictating and they essentially responded accordingly."

Allen can't sign a contract until the league lifts its player movement moratorium. That ban is expected to be lifted on July 22, though there's been talk around the league that it could be pushed back as much as week.

The move should have major ramifications for both the Sonics and the rest of the free agent market.

Allen earned about $14 million this season, and the two sides tried to negotiate a new deal during the regular season, but could not agree. Both sides 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."

Now that the Sonics have re-signed Allen, look for them to get aggressive in bringing back the rest of the pieces, including head coach Nate McMillan, that helped the Sonics secure a third seed in the West.

The Sonics are also trying to re-sign free agents Vladimir Radmanovic, Antonio Daniels, Reggie Evans, Jerome James and Ronald Murray.

Allen's agreement with the Sonics will also have affect on a number of other free agent two guards looking for new deals. The Clippers and Hawks had made Allen a top priority, and the Cavs had Allen as their back-up plan should Michael Redd decide to return to Milwaukee.

Elite Sharpshooters
All-time players with at least:
20 PPG, 35% 3-PT FG Pct., 85% FT Pct.
  PPG 3-pt % FT %
Ray Allen 20.6 39.7 88.4
Larry Bird 24.3 37.6 88.6
Dirk Nowitzki 21.3 37.5 85.6
Mitch Richmond 21.0 38.8 85.0

With Allen now out of the picture, expect both Los Angeles and the Atlanta to turn to the next top available free agent guards -- Joe Johnson and Larry Hughes. Johnson is a restricted free agent who has garnered a large amount of interest around the league. However, teams have been slow to offer him a contract because of the Suns ability (and stated intention) to match any deal.

Hughes is an unrestricted free agent who, statistically, was at the top of his class. However, it's been widely assumed that he'll re-sign with the Wizards. The Wizards can offer Hughes an extra year and more money than either the Hawks or Clippers.

After those two, the market drops off pretty dramatically. Bobby Simmons, Marko Jaric, Cuttino Mobley, Latrell Sprewell and Gerald Wallace are the next best guards on the board.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.