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Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - Page updated at 11:07 AM

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Wilcox signs 3-year deal

Seattle Times staff reporter

Chris Wilcox and the Seattle Sonics agreed to a three-year, $24 million deal this morning, said Jeff Fried, his agent.

Fried said the deal made sense for both his client and the team for three reasons.

First, the deal puts Wilcox in a prime position to ask for a "max money" contract when this contract ends. Wilcox, a 6-foot-10 power forward, and his camp expect him to evolve into a superstar. He will be just 26 years old when this contract expires.

The contract "puts Chris in the absolute best position to succeed," Fried said.

Second, the deal protects the team if Wilcox doesn't blossom as expected, because it's a relatively-short commitment.

And third, Wilcox believes Seattle's up-tempo game best suits his style.

"Playing in a system that's perfect for his style of play, where his talents will shine, it ends up being a truly terrific commercial arrangement for Chris," Fried said. "Chris is extremely pleased."

The Sonics are scheduled to hold a news conference this afternoon.

Fried and Sonics general manager Rick Sund were reportedly as much as $5 million apart in negotiatoins but made significant progress last week during two days of face-to-face negotiations.

Several other teams were "extremely aggressive" with sign-and-trade possibilities, including Pheonix and Golden State, but those never panned out, Fried said.

Wilcox averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in 29 games for the Sonics since coming over from the Los Angeles Clippers in a February swap for forward Vladimir Radmanovic. Wilcox also shot 59 percent from the field and averaged 30 minutes.

All the numbers were career highs.

Wilcox had been a restricted free agent, meaning he could have signed with any team, but the Sonics would have had the first right to match that offer.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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