Top free agent Allen agrees to stay with Sonics
By Paul Levine Jul 6, 2005, 7:28 GMT
Los Angeles - The Seattle SuperSonics are unsure head coach Nate McMillan will return to the club but they managed to keep their leading scorer in the fold.
Free agent guard Ray Allen has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Sonics, that could be worth as much as 85 million dollars with performance bonuses, according to reports on Tuesday by ESPN.com.
"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's agent Lon 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."
Allen, who has been pursued by Cleveland, Atlanta, and the L.A. Clippers, will sign the contract when the league's player movement moratorium is lifted on July 22.
Allen, who turns 30 this month, is coming off his best season, averaging 23.9 points and 3.7 assists in 78 regular-season games.
The five-time all-star turned up his game in the playoffs, averaging 26.5 points and 3.9 assists in 11 games, but Seattle lost in six games to eventual champions San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals.
With Allen returning, Seattle must try to re-sign McMillan, who guided the club to the third seed in the West. The former Sonics guard is entertaining offers to either stay, or take one of the vacant head coaching jobs with the Portland Trail Blazers or New York Knicks.
Sonics CEO Wally Walker confirmed late last week he gave McMillan a deadline of the middle of this week to make a decision on which team he wants to coach, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.
"All I said to him was, 'It's in everybody's interest to move this thing ahead,'" Walker told the paper. "'We need to see where you are in the hopes that we can get something done between you and the Sonics.'"
Walker admitted he has not lined up interviews with any other potential coaches until he sits down with McMillan.
"We are not talking to other candidates," he added. "We are not pursuing anything, we are not making up a list until he comes back and we have that discussion."© dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur