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Jazz, Kirilenko Seem Close on New Deal

October 25, 2004|From Associated Press

Forward Andrei Kirilenko feels he is close to a contract extension with the Utah Jazz and hopes to have it completed within the next few days.

The Jazz and Kirilenko have until Sunday to agree on an extension for Kirilenko, in the fourth-year option of his original contract. If no deal is reached, the All-Star forward will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season -- something both sides are trying to avoid.

"I think we're almost done. I think [in the] next few more days, everything will be done," Kirilenko said over the weekend. "I want to be part of this organization forever -- for my career."

Kirilenko, 23, is seeking the maximum six-year, $86-million deal, but would not elaborate on details or what the holdup has been.

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Responding to swingman Latrell Sprewell's demand for a contract extension by Nov. 3, Minnesota Timberwolf vice president Kevin McHale says he too wants to reach an agreement before the regular season begins.

Sprewell, 35, has said he won't return to the team next season if his demand isn't met.

"We want to get a contract done too," McHale said. "I always feel it's a lot better to get a contract done before the regular season starts."

Sprewell, scheduled to earn $14.6 million this season, wants a two- or three-year extension. He said he would ask for a sign-and-trade deal or wait to become a free agent at the end of the season if a deal can't be reached by Nov. 3.

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The Orlando Magic needs a new arena to ensure its viability in central Florida, NBA Commissioner David Stern said.

Stern said that if the 15-year-old TD Waterhouse Centre isn't replaced soon, "then I think we'd have a problem."

The Magic's ownership has wanted a new home court for years, claiming the 17,248-seat arena lacks such moneymaking amenities as club seats and mid-level luxury boxes. But the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hurt the region's tourism-dependent economy, and negotiations with local officials were shelved.

Magic President Bob Vander Weide said his office recently fielded calls from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and preliminary talks have begun.

If an arena isn't built, the Magic might move. Both Kansas City and St. Louis, which are building or already have built new downtown arenas, are trying to land an NBA team.

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Liu Wei, a starting guard for the Chinese national team, was among three players released by the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings also released center Anwar Ferguson and guard Tony Bland.

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