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Originally published Saturday, August 6, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Seventh heaven: Brunson signs with Sonics

Guard Rick Brunson signed with the Sonics yesterday, his seventh different team in as many years in the NBA. "Rick's playmaking ability, ball-handling...

Seattle Times staff

Guard Rick Brunson signed with the Sonics yesterday, his seventh different team in as many years in the NBA.

"Rick's playmaking ability, ball-handling skills and size make him a nice complement for our team," Seattle general manager Rick Sund said in a statement. "He is a true point guard, and I think he and Luke Ridnour will give us a good tandem at that position."

Terms of the deal were not known. Brunson, a 6-foot-4 graduate of Temple, played with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, but had his rights renounced by the team Wednesday. Brunson played in 80 games last year, averaging 5.5 points and ranking ninth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Brunson's career has spanned seven teams: Portland, New York, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, the Clippers and now Seattle. He started his career with Portland in 1997.

Brunson is expected to take Antonio Daniels' role as backup to Ridnour. Daniels signed a five-year, $30 million deal with the Washington Wizards.

Wilkins to Minnesota

Damien Wilkins, a Sonics restricted free agent, is expected to sign a five-year, $15 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA sources say.

The Sonics, who were hoping to retain the 25-year-old forward, have the option to match the Timberwolves' offer but are unlikely to do so because of the amount of money in the deal.

Wilkins, who averaged 6.3 points in 29 games during his rookie campaign last season and performed admirably in the playoffs in place of injured regulars Rashard Lewis and Vladimir Radmanovic, had also been considering an offer from Portland.

The Trail Blazers are now led by ex-Sonics coach Nate McMillan.

The Timberwolves pursued Wilkins based on advice from new coach Dwane Casey, who left the Sonics' staff this summer after 11 seasons with the club to take over in Minnesota.

Note

• The Sonics will play two exhibition games at KeyArena: Oct. 14 against Phoenix, and Oct. 19 against the L.A. Clippers. An article yesterday erred in saying they wouldn't play at home in the preseason. Seattle opens Oct. 12 at Portland in the Rose Garden, then ends exhibition play Oct. 28, also against Portland at the Spokane Arena.

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