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Sonics / NBA

Sunday, July 30, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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All over but the signing of Wilcox, says source

Seattle Times staff reporter

With trade proposals from at least three teams still on the table, the Sonics may be nearing an end to negotiations with Chris Wilcox on a three-year, $24 million proposal from his Washington, D.C.-based agent Jeff Fried.

According to a team source, an agreement is imminent, with at least one of the team's new owners, G. Edward Evans, planning to return to Seattle this week, possibly for the announcement.

However, Fried and Sonics general manager Rick Sund said on Saturday that speculation that the deal is completed is premature.

"Nothing has been finalized," Fried said. "We want to conclude [contract talks] as soon as possible so Chris can get with a team and begin preparing for the season."

Sund declined to discuss the negotiations in detail, but said: "We've had dialogue this week, but nothing has really changed and no agreement has been reached."

He would not comment on the possibility of agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal.

According to an NBA source, Phoenix, Golden State and Sacramento have contacted Seattle to talk about trade scenarios involving Wilcox, a 23-year-old power forward, who averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in 29 games with the Sonics last season.

Although Sund has told teams he'd consider parting with Wilcox only if Seattle receives an All-Star forward in return, the trade rumors continue to linger because the Sonics have been unable to reach an agreement with the four-year veteran after four weeks of negotiations.

Fried cancelled plans to meet with Sund last week and was unsure when they would have face-to-face dialogue again. He made one trip to Seattle and talked with Sund on July 3 when discussions fell apart after his five-year, $62 million offer resulted in a five-year, $40 million counterproposal from the Sonics.

At that time, it seemed certain that Wilcox would sign a one-year tender worth $3.6 million. However, the two sides appeared to have broken the impasse when they focused on a three-year deal.

All that remains is determining the value of the contract. In a short-term contract, the Sonics believe Wilcox is worth about $7 million per year, while Fried favors an $8 million deal.

"If Chris doesn't turn out to be a star player, they cut their risk and move on," Fried said. "But if Chris is a superstar like we believe he will be, then he'll be 26 and in position to get an enhanced contract."

Wilcox is working out in Houston and is prepared to immediately fly to Seattle, Fried said.

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

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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