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Marbury Signs Extension for at Least $76 Million

October 08, 2003|From Wire Reports

The Phoenix Suns extended Stephon Marbury's contract for four years Tuesday, giving the All-Star point guard the richest deal offered to a professional athlete in Arizona and locking up his services through 2008-09.

"I knew this was going to be the place that I wanted to play basketball," Marbury, 26, said.

He made up his mind after Allen Iverson signed an extension with the Philadelphia 76ers on Sept. 24.

"I called [team President] Bryan Colangelo and said, 'I want to get my deal done. I want to do it now,' and Bryan was like, 'OK, no problem,' " Marbury said.

Marbury, an All-Star in 2001 and 2003, has two years left on a $70.9-million, six-year contract he signed with the New Jersey Nets in 1999. It will pay him $13.5 million this season and $14.6 million in 2004-05.

The value of the four extension years will vary from $76 million to $80 million, depending on how the NBA adjusts the salary cap.

Last season, Marbury was the only player in the top 12 in scoring (22.3 points per game) and assists (8.1), and even had a career-high 20 blocks in 81 games.

He scored at least 40 points five times -- netting a team-record 26 in the fourth quarter against San Antonio on Nov. 29 -- and had 20 points or more in 36 of the last 49 games.

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LeBron James' second assist was more impressive than his first basket.

Making his professional debut in Cleveland's first exhibition game, James was a better passer than scorer in the Cavaliers' 100-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Auburn Hills, Mich.

James made four of 12 shots and finished with eight points. He had three rebounds and seven assists -- the prettiest of which came as he was cutting across the lane midway through the first quarter. As a second defender came over, James quickly delivered a no-look, behind-the-back bounce pass to Zydrunas Ilgauskas for a dunk.

It was the play of the game from the 18-year-old on an evening when he struggled with his outside shot.

James' only basket of the first half was a breakaway dunk off a steal by Ricky Davis. Knowing he was alone, James fully extended his right arm and flushed home a one-handed jam.

The pass to Ilgauskas came less than two minutes later and thrilled a crowd of 20,862 that booed him during introductions and after his first basket.

One heckler made James laugh by telling him his car was ugly, but James had little other interaction with a crowd sprinkled with fans wearing replicas of James' wine-and-gold Cavalier jersey.

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New Jersey waived eight-time All-Star center Dikembe Mutombo, 37, after finalizing what is believed to be a $30-million contract buyout.

Mutombo played in only 24 games last season because of a wrist injury that required surgery around Thanksgiving.

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Sonny Vaccaro, the grass-roots basketball impresario who signed Michael Jordan to his first shoe endorsement contract two decades ago, has joined Reebok International Ltd. to develop its youth market.

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