Spurs sign Duncan to long-term contract

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2003

SAN ANTONIO Tim Duncan signed a long-term deal Wednesday to remain with the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, who also got the two-time league MVP some help to fill the void left by David Robinson's retirement.

Duncan reportedly received a $122 million, seven-year deal the largest allowed under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. Spurs general manager R.C. Buford declined to confirm details of the contract.

San Antonio also signed free agent 7-foot center Rasho Nesterovic to a reported $42 million, six-year deal. Wednesday was the first day that free agents could sign contracts.

Duncan didn't attend the news conference and wasn't immediately available for comment.

Duncan became a free agent when he decided June 30 not to exercise a player option in his contract for 2003-04, but never considered leaving the Spurs.

His last contract, signed in the summer of 2000, was a three-year deal valued at $32.6 million. He would have made $13.3 million if he had accepted the fourth-year option.

In six NBA seasons, the 27-year-old Duncan has averaged 22.9 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game. He averaged 24.7 points and 15.4 rebounds per game in the NBA playoffs, which culminated with the Spurs winning the championship in six games over the New Jersey Nets.

Nets sign center Mourning to multiyear deal

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Alonzo Mourning signed Wednesday with the New Jersey Nets, who are hoping the one-time Miami star will provide the inside game they need to compete with the best teams in the NBA's Western Conference.

The free-agent center signed a multiyear contract. The deal is believed to be worth $22 million over four years.

Mourning said the opportunity to play with Jason Kidd and the chance to win an NBA title were the main factors in his decision to sign with New Jersey.

''That was the main reason I came here, because of the winning attitude of this team and the direction it's going in,'' said Mourning, who was presented with a No. 33 jersey. ''I can't think of a player in this league that doesn't want to play with Jason Kidd.

''He's proven he can make not only you but a whole team better.''

Orlando Magic sign forward Howard

ORLANDO, Fla. The Orlando Magic signed forward Juwan Howard on Wednesday, hoping they have found a second scoring option behind Tracy McGrady.

Howard, a nine-year veteran, has averaged 17.9 points and 7.5 rebounds in 649 career games with Washington, Dallas and Denver. Last season, he led the Nuggets in scoring (18.4 points per game) and rebounding (7.6 rebounds per game). Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the five-year contract has been reported to be worth between $28 million and $38 million.

76ers re-sign Thomas

PHILADELPHIA Kenny Thomas wants the ball more, but that doesn't mean he plans to shoot it all the time.

The 6-foot-7 forward signed a seven-year contract to remain with the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. The deal reportedly is worth more than $40 million.

In his fourth season in the NBA, Thomas emerged as a solid rebounder, averaging 8.5 boards in 46 games with the Sixers after being acquired from Houston in a three-team deal last December. He was one of Philadelphia's best players in the playoffs, averaging 10.6 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds.

DA says decision in Bryant case not expected before Friday

EAGLE, Colo. The county district attorney said Wednesday he had not decided whether to file criminal charges against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he probably won't announce his decision before Friday or early next week. ''We're still looking at the evidence and gathering the facts,'' Hurlbert said.

Bryant was arrested July 4 on allegations he sexually assaulted the 19-year-old woman June 30 at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in nearby Edwards.

Trail Blazers turn to Nash

PORTLAND, Ore. John Nash was introduced Wednesday as the Trail Blazers' sixth general manager, taking control of a troubled team in need of an overhaul.

''Paul Allen has made it clear that he wants a team that both he and the city of Portland can be proud of,'' Nash said.

Nash, the former Philadelphia, Washington and New Jersey GM, was most recently a basketball analyst on the Philadelphia 76ers' postgame show.

The 56-year-old veteran manager replaces Bob Whitsitt, whose personnel moves angered many in the community. The team failed to win a championship with the league's highest payroll and several notable players have had surly attitudes and legal problems.

Nash said he would not shy away from those problems.

''It would be my goal to make some changes before the season starts, but not change for the sake of change,'' he said.

One of the team's biggest problems has been Rasheed Wallace, who is most known for his tirades against referees and penchant for picking up technicals.

As Washington's GM, Nash drafted Wallace.

Nash has also been known for cleaning house. With the Nets, he swung a nine-player trade with Dallas and an eight-player trade with Philadelphia.

He also acquired Stephon Marbury. But none of the moves worked, and the Nets struggled until Nash left and Jason Kidd arrived.

Nash also performed a major makeover when he was with Washington, acquiring players such as Chris Webber, Rex Chapman and Scott Skiles.

The search for Whitsitt's replacement took longer than expected after New Jersey's Ed Stefanski, Detroit's John Hammond and Boston's Chris Wallace turned down offers to join the Blazers.

When Steve Patterson took over as the new team president, the search slowed even further. Whitsitt stayed on to select Travis Outlaw in the first round of last month's NBA draft.

Aside from Wallace, Nash has other ties to Portland. He worked in Philadelphia when Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks played there. He also hired Blazer assistant Jim Lynam as head coach for Philadelphia and Washington.

The latest of many problems involving the team concerned Damon Stoudamire, fined $250,000 and suspended indefinitely for his third arrest in 16 months on marijuana possession charges earlier this month.

During the past season, the Blazers have had several problems:

Wallace and Qyntel Woods also were arrested for marijuana possession.

Ruben Patterson was arrested for felony domestic assault, but charges were later dropped.

Bonzi Wells was suspended and fined for on-court fighting, and received the same punishment for spitting on an opponent.

Wallace was suspended and fined for threatening a referee after a game.

Zach Randolph was suspended and fined for punching Patterson during practice.

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