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Thursday, February 23, 2006 - Page updated at 07:57 AM

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Sonics

Sonics trade shots with, beat Hawks

Seattle Times staff reporter

ATLANTA — Before taking the court against the Atlanta Hawks, Sonics coach Bob Hill received an update on trade proceedings from general manager Rick Sund, who worked the phones Wednesday night in Seattle.

The two agreed that Hill should keep Ronald Murray, Reggie Evans and Vitaly Potapenko on the bench in Seattle's 114-109 victory at Phillips Arena, fearing they might get injured and preserving the strong possibility that one, two or all three will be moved before today's noon trade deadline.

"I knew what he was doing. He didn't have to tell me what was up," Evans said. "We don't talk, and we haven't talked. I'm not one of his guys, so we don't talk.

"Under the circumstances that he got me in, it probably would be best for me to be somewhere else because I'm not able to work my way up with the team. You never know what tomorrow is going to bring."

According to league sources, the Sonics have been one of the most active teams in trade talks for the past two weeks.

However, since trading Vladimir Radmanovic to the Los Angeles Clippers for Chris Wilcox last week, they have drawn little interest around the league because Sund is unwilling to part with one of the team's core players.

"We're always looking and working the phones," said Sund, who declined to discuss in detail the extent of trade conversations.

A Western Conference executive claiming knowledge of the Sonics' situation said Sund called Minnesota and inquired about guard Marko Jaric, who lost his starting job to newly acquired Marcus Banks. Jaric, a 6-foot-7 guard, is ideal for the Sonics because he would give them a backup for Luke Ridnour.

The likelihood of the being completed is low considering other players would need to be included and Seattle and Minnesota are Northwest Division rivals.

Sund, however, said he would "do a deal with anybody as long as it will help the team. I don't think about division, conference or things like that."

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In addition to Murray, Evans and Potapenko, who have requested trades, Seattle is attempting to unload forward Danny Fortson, who has a year remaining on his contract at $6.9 million.

Keeping to tradition, Sund, who dealt Gary Payton to Milwaukee for Ray Allen hours before the trade deadline in 2002, declined to designate anyone as untouchable.

"People say certain people on teams ... won't be traded, but it's kind of flip-flopped because those are likely the ones that are probably the most tradable because they are the most valuable," Allen said. "You can't get caught up in thinking that you're untouchable around here because I've seen it firsthand. I was traded when I was told I was going to be in Milwaukee for my whole career."

If the Sonics are unable to make a deal, they're likely to extend a 10-day contract for a backup point guard in the developmental league or CBA because Ridnour is limping on a sprained right ankle and Hill doesn't fully trust backup Rick Brunson.

With Ridnour ailing Wednesday, Damien Wilkins stepped in at point guard and nearly lost the game for the Sonics. With Seattle clinging to a 110-106 lead with less than a minute left, the Hawks (16-36) doubled Wilkins in the backcourt and he airmailed a pass intended for Nick Collison out of bounds.

Josh Smith (14 points) drained a three-pointer that narrowed Atlanta's deficit to one.

With 29.9 seconds left, Hill replaced Wilkins with Ridnour, who found Allen.

Atlanta's defense shifted toward Allen, who scored a game-high 33 points, which left Ridnour alone on the right wing. Allen dished to Ridnour, who drained an 18-foot jumper with 18.7 seconds left.

The Sonics also received 25 points and 10 rebounds from Rashard Lewis, who considered sitting out due to a sprained right ankle.

"A lot could change tomorrow," Lewis said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

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

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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