Notebook: Allen frustrated by negotiations
At every stop, the question is always the same. Hey Ray, how do you feel about coming to our city and playing basketball next season? Because he is congenial...
Seattle Times staff reporter
SALT LAKE CITY — At every stop, the question is always the same.
Hey Ray, how do you feel about coming to our city and playing basketball next season?
Because he is congenial and without a contract after the season, Ray Allen ponders the possibility even though he wants to remain with the Sonics and finish a makeover that began nearly two years ago when he arrived to Seattle in a trade involving Gary Payton.
"Having to deal with that (the inquiries) all season long opens the door to being frustrated, and it brings that stuff into the locker room," Allen said. "Danny (Fortson) asked me the other day what I wanted to do. I know what I want to do. I want to be here, but that's not happening.
"So it affects the team. It brings that element into the locker room. The guys in here are asking, 'What is Ray going to do?' Every team that's come in here and everywhere we've gone, someone has asked, 'Would you consider playing for our team?' "
It happened again Tuesday night in Los Angeles when interviewers inquired about his interest in the Lakers and Clippers.
Play of the game: Lopez drove past Ray Allen, was bumped in midair and floated in a jumper that gave the Jazz a 102-91 lead.
Turning point: Utah used a 17-6 run at the start of the fourth quarter to take a 96-83 lead.
"It's not that I'm trying to throw anybody off or making them feel good about themselves in my desire to play for their teams," Allen said. "But I have to, at this point, keep the option open.
"But those questions are getting annoying."
It happened in Denver. It happened when Cleveland visited Seattle last week. And it will happen tomorrow when the Sonics fly to the Bay Area to play the Golden State Warriors.
"That's why you've got to take care of business and get the business out of the way," Allen said. "It's time. It's past time."
Negotiations between the Sonics and Allen's agent, Lon Babby, haven't progressed since the two began talking before the season. They have had frequent conversations during the season, but neither side is making concessions.
Allen is eligible for a maximum five-year deal worth about $97 million. Recent reports indicate he would accept $90 million.
Sources told the Times last summer that the Sonics were offering a $70 million deal, and a more recent report put the team's offer at $68.5 million.
Neither Babby nor general manager Rick Sund has commented on the discussions.
"The bottom line is nothing has happened or is happening when something should have already happened," Allen said. "It's getting frustrating."
• The Utah Jazz activated center Jarron Collins and placed point guard Keith McLeod on the injured list with a strained hamstring. Utah also waived center Elden Campbell.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
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