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Thursday, July 28, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Sonics

Sonics to meet with Vlade next week; may be talking trade

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Sonics will sit down with Vladimir Radmanovic early next week in Seattle in a meeting that will ultimately define their relationship with the restricted free agent.

The sides have frequently been at odds regarding his role as a reserve forward and pursuit of a long-term contract since Seattle selected him 12th overall in the 2001 draft.

After being denied an extension last year, Radmanovic averaged 11.8 points and 4.6 rebounds and was a candidate for the NBA's sixth man of the year award before suffering a regular-season ending stress fracture in his right fibula.

Seattle has extended him a multi-year offer with a yearly salary between $6 million and $7 million. Still, it's far less than the five-year, $47 million deal that Bobby Simmons will reportedly receive from Milwaukee and the three-year, $24 million deal that Kwame Brown is expected to receive from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Both forwards were drafted in 2001. Last season, Simmons produced better averages (16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds) than Radmanovic, but Brown (7.0 and 4.9) didn't fare as well.

"My motto all along has been to remain cautiously optimistic," said Radmanovic's agent, David Bauman. "We haven't had much movement yet, but that doesn't mean we won't."

Radmanovic, who is vacationing in Serbia and Montenegro, is scheduled to return to Seattle on Monday and speak with general manager Rick Sund and president Wally Walker on Tuesday.

The Sonics are unable to comment on player negotiations until the new collective-bargaining agreement is ratified, but it appears the team is prepared to have Radmanovic sign a one-year tender worth $3.2 million.

By doing so, the 6-foot-10 forward will become an unrestricted free agent next season and the Sonics will save between $3 million and $6 million, which they can spend on restricted free agents Ronald Murray, Reggie Evans and Damien Wilkins.

Bauman declined to comment on the likelihood of pursuing a sign-and-trade deal, although that scenario remains a possibility.

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One league source said yesterday the Sonics have had several discussions with teams about trading Radmanovic and Murray in separate deals, although it's unclear if Seattle is initiating the talks.

The Sonics have maintained since free agency began that their first priority is re-signing their players, including Ray Allen, who agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal. Unrestricted free agents Jerome James and Antonio Daniels, however, will not return.

Note

• Former Atlanta center Predrag Drobnjak, who played two seasons with the Sonics, will not return to the NBA next season and has agreed to a $3 million to $4 million deal with a team in Vittoria, Spain, according to Bauman, who is his agent. Drobnjak is expected to sign the contract next week.

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

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