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Originally published Wednesday, September 28, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Sonics

Murray signs with Sonics for one year

Vladimir Radmanovic isn't the only Sonic with a gambler's heart. A week after he spurned a six-year, $42 million offer from the Sonics and...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Vladimir Radmanovic isn't the only Sonic with a gambler's heart.

A week after he spurned a six-year, $42 million offer from the Sonics and signed a one-year tender worth $3.2 million, Ronald "Flip" Murray declined a long-term contract from the team and signed a one-year, $875,000 deal yesterday.

Both Radmanovic and Murray were restricted free agents, which allowed the Sonics to match any offer they might receive from other teams. Neither player was able to generate much interest around the league, which forced them to deal almost exclusively with Seattle. By choosing the tender, they will become unrestricted free agents after the season and can sign with any team.

A week ago, general manager Rick Sund said he offered Radmanovic four contract options, which included varying years on the length of the contract. It's believed that Sund presented Murray with similar scenarios, but Sund declined to comment on the negotiations.

Murray, a fourth-year guard who arrived in Seattle on Feb. 20, 2003 in a trade with Milwaukee involving Gary Payton and Ray Allen, initially sought a six-year deal starting at $5 million and totaling more than $30 million.

The Sonics' best offer, according to sources, was similar to the five-year, $14.5 million deal the team gave reserve forward Damien Wilkins.

"That's one more free agent we can check off for the year," Sund said. "I'm happy to get that behind us. It gives us some depth at the guard position."

Murray, who averaged 7.0 points and 2.0 rebounds last season, is slotted behind Allen. He also lost minutes in the rotation to Wilkins late in the season and during the playoffs.

All that remains for Sund is to sign forward Reggie Evans, who was hoping to cash in on the Sonics' surprising 52-30 record like former teammates Antonio Daniels and Jerome James, who received $30 million deals from Washington and New York, respectively.

At this late stage of the free-agency period, it's unlikely that Evans will receive a lucrative offer, and chances are growing that he might gamble much like Radmanovic and Murray and opt for a one-year deal. The gamble for him would be greater because there isn't much of a market for 6-8 forwards who can rebound and defend but have limited scoring abilities.

Notes

• The Sonics invited Tre Simmons to training camp and will sign the former Washington Husky to a non-guaranteed contract. Simmons was undrafted this summer and played with Atlanta's summer-league team in Salt Lake City.

• Seattle is expected to begin camp with 14 players on the active roster, which leaves just one spot open. Backup guard Mateen Cleaves is also expected to compete for a spot on the roster.

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

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