NBA News and Notes

NBA News and Notes

Pistons trade Delfino to Raptors
June 15, 2007

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -The Detroit Pistons traded guard Carlos Delfino to the Toronto Raptors on Friday for second-round draft picks in 2009 and 2010.
   
``We appreciate everything Carlos did for us while he was here and we wish him all the best with Toronto,'' Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said.

Delfino, from Argentina, was drafted 25th overall by Detroit in 2003, and averaged 4.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 180 games with the Pistons.

During the 2006-07 regular season, the 6-foot-6 guard averaged 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 16.8 minutes while appearing in all 82 games. He played in all 16 of Detroit's playoff games, averaging 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 8.4 minutes.

The 25-year-old player is set to make just over $1.8 million next season.

``Carlos is a talented basketball player that should thrive in our system,'' Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo said. ``Like many international players that come to the league, he has much more professional experience than his NBA resume suggests.''

Delfino spent four seasons with Reggio Calabria (2000-02) and Skipper Bologna (2003-04) of the Italian league before joining the NBA. He was a member of Argentina's gold medal-winning team in the 2004 Olympics.

Detroit's other first-round pick in the 2003 draft was Darko Milicic, a 7-foot center from Serbia and Montenegro taken No. 2 overall behind Cleveland's LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Milicic appeared in 96 games over 2 1/2 seasons before being traded to Orlando in February 2006.

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Bucks extend contracts of Bogut, Villanueva
June 21, 2007

MILWAUKEE (AP) -The Milwaukee Bucks picked up the final option years on the contracts of center Andrew Bogut and forward Charlie Villanueva on Thursday.

Bogut, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, and Villanueva, the seventh pick that year, are now signed through the 2008-09 season.

As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, their rookie contracts in 2005 were two years in length, with team options for the third and fourth seasons.

Bogut, 22, averaged career highs in points (12.3), rebounds (8.0) and assists (3.0) in 66 games last season while shooting 55.3 percent from the field in his second season.

Villanueva, 22, struggled with injuries after being traded from Toronto last June for point guard T.J. Ford.

Villanueva appeared in 39 games and averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds.

He missed 10 games with a torn ligament in his left elbow, three with a right ankle sprain and 30 more - including the final 18 - with right shoulder tendinitis that led to arthroscopic surgery.

General manager Larry Harris also said that qualifying offers were made to restricted free-agent guard Charlie Bell and forward Ersan Ilyasova. That gives the Bucks the right to match any offers by other teams.

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F Randolph opts to stay with 76ers
June 22, 2007

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Shavlik Randolph picked up the one-year option on his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday as he attempts a comeback from a broken and dislocated left ankle.

In two seasons with the Sixers, Randolph averaged 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 70 games. He was limited to 13 games last year after his Nov. 30 injury.

``It's taken a whole lot longer than I thought it would, but not anyone else,'' Randolph said. ``All the doctors thought it would take this long.''

Randolph said he hadn't decided if he would play in the Sixers summer league games in Las Vegas or Salt Lake City.

``If I can go out there and practice and feel good enough to play, I'll do it,'' he said. ``I won't go out there if I don't feel I'm ready.''

Randolph signed as an undrafted free agent with the Sixers before the 2005 season, following a three-year career at Duke. He signed a two-year contract - which included a reported $1.1 million option for this year - and averaged 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds before he was hurt.

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Hudson wants out of Minnesota
June 22, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -If the Minnesota Timberwolves do decide to trade Kevin Garnett, point guard Troy Hudson would like to be on the plane with KG out of the Twin Cities.

Hudson's agent said Friday that he called owner Glen Taylor to say that the point guard would like to play elsewhere next season.

``It's not like I demanded a trade or anything,'' Bill Neff said. ``It's just time to move on.''

Hudson has spent five seasons in Minnesota, with his first one being the best. He averaged 14.2 points and 5.7 assists in 2002-03 and parlayed that into a six-year, $37 million contract. But injuries, and a logjam at point guard last season, have kept him from approaching that production the last four years.

He's started just 39 games in the last four seasons and averaged 5.9 points and 2.1 assists in 34 games last year. Any chance at consistent playing time was lost when Randy Wittman took over for the fired Dwane Casey in January.

``We weren't happy (when Wittman took over),'' Neff said.

Hudson was believed to be in a package with Garnett that the Wolves were shopping to Boston, a deal that appears unlikely to materialize.

``When I read that they were trying to move him to Boston, my reaction was, 'Could you do it faster?''' Neff said. ``He's not in their plans. He wants to play. He can still help someone.''

Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale declined to comment on the issue through a team spokesman.

Trade speculation surrounding Garnett has ramped up ever since Boston's Danny Ainge acknowledged having talks with McHale about Garnett's availability.

But with an opt-out clause in his contract after next season, Garnett will have plenty of say in where he ends up, if the Timberwolves do decide they would be better off dealing the All-Star forward.

McHale has been more vocal this offseason in saying that he would listen to offers for Garnett, but Taylor has said on more than one occasion that he expects Garnett to be here next season.

Hudson's has three years and more than $18 million left on his deal, which could make him difficult to trade. Neff said the only trade talks he's had direct knowledge of involving his client was a proposal at the trade deadline last season when Detroit offered Nazr Mohammed for Hudson, but that deal never came to fruition.

``Minnesota is not a place we're trying to stay,'' Neff said.

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Bobcats' Wallace to test free agent waters
June 27th, 2007

Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace has reportedly decided to become an unrestricted free agent.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Wallace gave up a guaranteed salary of about $6 million for next season to test the free agent waters. The paper said, however, that the Bobcats plan to meet with Wallace's agent on Sunday when the NBA's free agency period begins.

Wallace led the Bobcats in scoring this past season with an average of 18.1 points per game and was second in rebounding at 7.2 boards. He has spent the past three seasons with Charlotte, joining the club in the 2004 expansion draft.

After three years as a role player in Sacramento, Wallace's scoring average has increased in each of his three years with the Bobcats. In six NBA seasons overall, he has averaged 10.1 points.

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Nighty-Knight: Bobcats waive veteran guard
June 29th, 2007

Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - The Charlotte Bobcats waived point guard Brevin Knight on Friday.

Knight played in just 45 games last season with the Bobcats, averaging 9.1 points and 6.6 assists. He appeared in 180 games over three seasons for the Bobcats and averaged 10.8 points, 8.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 30.8 minutes.

"Brevin Knight is a natural leader who embodied all of those intangible qualities that you would want in a veteran player," Bickerstaff said. "The professionalism that he brought to this team, both on and off the court, makes this a tough decision. His contributions to this young franchise will continue to have an impact on our younger players as we move forward."

A 10-year NBA veteran, Knight has averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 assists and 1.8 steals in 581 career games with Cleveland, Atlanta, Memphis, Phoenix, Washington, Milwaukee and Charlotte. Over his career, he has averaged at least 1.25 steals in each of his 10 seasons.

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Carter opts out of contract with Nets, chances are he will stay
June 30, 2007

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -Vince Carter opted out of the final year of a contract with the New Jersey Nets that would have paid the All-Star guard $16.3 million this coming season.

Nets' President Rod Thorn said Saturday the team was informed Friday that Carter would test the free agent market, but he remained optimistic the 30-year-old swingman would return next season.

``Unless he's changed his mind, we're hoping he's back,'' Thorn told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. ``He said he wants to return and we've always said we wanted him back.''

The two sides have talked about a contract for the past month, and they are close to an agreement on a four-year deal worth more than $60 million.

Any new contract could not be signed until July 11. If the two sides reach an agreement, Thorn said the team is prohibited from announcing the deal until then.

Kurt Schoeppler, Carter's agent, has not returned telephone calls left at his Cleveland office since the negotiations began. He did not return a call on Saturday.

Carter averaged team-highs of 25.2 points in the regular season and 22.3 for the postseason.

If there is a knock on Carter, who will be entering his 10th season, it's his failure to step up in the playoffs. He shot less than 40 percent from the field in the postseason and he made several big mistakes.

Carter turned the ball over in the closing seconds of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Cleveland with the Nets down two points and 2-1 in the series. He also was somewhat of a no-show for the deciding Game 6, scoring 11 points while having more turnovers (5) than baskets (4).

The other potential free agent the Nets would like to lock up is center Mikki Moore, who took over the starting job after Nenad Krstic was lost in December with a knee injury.

Moore averaged career-bests of 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds while leading the league in field goal percentage .609.

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Nets, Carter agree on new contract
July 1, 2007

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets have the framework in place for a four-year contract that guarantees the All-Star more than $60 million, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
   
Word of the deal came Sunday, though the person spoke on condition of anonymity because under league rules the agreement can not be announced until July 11, the first day free agents can sign.

A day earlier the Nets announced Carter had opted out of the final year of a contract that would've paid him $16.3 million next season. Team officials, though, had said they were optimistic the 30-year-old swingman, who will be entering his 10th season, would return to New Jersey.

Since the playoffs ended, Carter has been practicing at the team's facility in East Rutherford, and he also had invited teammate Nenad Krstic to visit his Orlando, Fla., home this week to practice together. And Bruce Ratner, the team's owner, has been a strong supporter of Carter and has said he wanted him resigned.

Carter and the Nets had been talking about a contract for the past month.

Gary Sussman, a team spokesman, did not immediately return a message left Sunday night seeking details of the agreement. However, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported on its Web site Sunday that the deal guarantees Carter $61.8 million over four seasons, with the team holding an option for a fifth year.

Kurt Schoeppler, Carter's agent, has not returned telephone calls to his Cleveland office since the negotiations started, and he did not return a message left Sunday.

Carter averaged team-highs of 25.2 points in the regular season and 22.3 for the postseason. However, he shot less than 40 percent from the field during the playoffs and made several big mistakes.

Carter turned the ball over in the closing seconds of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Cleveland with the Nets down two points and 2-1 in the series. He also was somewhat of a no-show for the deciding Game 6, scoring 11 points while having more turnovers (five) than baskets (four).

The other potential free agent the Nets would like to re-sign up is center Mikki Moore, who took over the starting job after Krstic was lost in December with a knee injury.

Moore averaged career-bests of 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds while leading the league in field goal percentage at .609.

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Heats' Kapono to leave for Raptors
July 1st, 2007

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Former Miami Heat sharp-shooter Jason Kapono has reportedly agreed in principle to a four-year contract with the Toronto Raptors.

According to a report in the Toronto Sun, Kapono will sign a contract with Toronto that will more than double the $1.2 million he made last year.

Kapono averaged a career-high 10.9 points per game and shot 51.4 percent from beyond the arc to lead the league. Originally drafted by Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 draft, Kapono owns a career average of 7.4 points per game.

Free agents are unable to formally sign contracts before July 11.

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Fisher gets release from Jazz to care for daughter
July 2nd, 2007

Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Derek Fisher was released from his contract with the Utah Jazz Monday as he seeks the proper medical care for his 11-month-old daughter who is fighting eye cancer.

According to the Salt lake Tribune, Fisher, who is leaving nearly $21 million in salary on the table over the next three years, said that basketball is not a priority right now, but that retirement is not being considered at this time.

Fisher left the team for a short period during the Western Conference semifinal round this past season when it was learned that his daughter Tatum had the disease. He returned to help the Jazz defeat the Golden State Warriors and advance to the conference finals, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

A 10-year veteran, Fisher averaged 10.1 points and 3.3 assists this past regular season. In 16 playoff games, he averaged 9.5 points and 2.6 assists.

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Report: Lewis heading to Orlando
July 3rd, 2007

Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - The Orlando Magic have reportedly landed one of the top members of this year's free-agent class in forward Rashard Lewis.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Lewis, who has spent his entire nine- year career with the Sonics, will leave the Pacific Northwest for the sunnier climes of Florida. The Times, citing WKMG Local 6, an Orlando television station, reported that Lewis and the Magic had agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract.

NBA free agents can not officially sign contracts until July 11.

The six-foot, 10-inch Lewis, who turns 28 next month, averaged a career-high 22.4 points per game last season, and pulled down an average of 6.6 rebounds per game. He has averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for his career.

Lewis, who turned pro after his senior year of high school and was a second-round selection by Seattle in the 1998 NBA Draft, was likely considered expendable by the Sonics after their selection of University of Texas phenom Kevin Durant, the number two overall pick in last week's draft, and the acquisition of Georgetown's Jeff Green, selected fifth overall by Boston.

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Pacers sign Rush
July 3rd, 2007

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - The Indiana Pacers have reportedly signed guard Kareem Rush.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Rush has signed with the Pacers, who can not make the announcement until July 11.

Rush played last season in the Lithuanian League, earning Baltic League Final Four MVP honors.

A 2002 first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers, Rush also played for Charlotte and Seattle in the NBA before going to Europe for last season.

The Pacers also signed forward Stephen Graham and guard Andre Owens. All three are expected to play for the club's rookie league team.

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Ewing headlines Orlando coaching staff
July 3rd, 2007

Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - The Orlando Magic finalized new head coach Stan Van Gundy's staff on Tuesday, announcing four assistants, most notably future Hall-of-Famer Patrick Ewing.

An 11-time All-Star, including a span of 10 straight seasons from 1988-97, Ewing averaged career marks of 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds while playing with the New York Knicks, Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic in 17 NBA seasons.

Ewing will be joined on the Magic staff by Brendan Malone, Steve Clifford and Bob Beyer. Ewing and Clifford worked together as assistants for the Houston Rockets, Malone has nearly 20 years of NBA coaching experience, including stints as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Beyer has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Dayton.

"Brendan, Patrick, Steve and Bob bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to Orlando," said Van Gundy. "All four possess tremendous work ethic, have great attention to detail and will help our players reach their full potential. We are very excited to have them join our coaching staff.'

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Pistons re-sign Billups in $60 million deal
July 3, 2007

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -Chauncey Billups and the Detroit Pistons agreed on a five-year, $60 million contract Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.

The person, who requested anonymity because of league rules preventing contract announcements before July 11, said the final season is a team option.

Billups had become an unrestricted free agent last month after opting out of the last year of a six-year contract.

Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations, said shortly after the team was eliminated from the conference finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers that his top priority was re-signing Billups.

The 6-foot-3, 202-pound All-Star said he would prefer to stay with Detroit and expected to be back if the team could match any other team's best offer.

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Magic withdraw offer from Milicic
July 3rd, 2007

Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - The Orlando Magic reportedly have withdrawn their qualifying offer for restricted free agent forward Darko Milicic.

Milicic's agent Marc Cornstein told the Orlando Sentinel that Magic owner Otis Smith sent him an e-mail Tuesday saying the team had withdrawn their offer and made him an unrestricted free agent.

Cornstein also stated that there was "no chance" Orlando could sign Milicic now.

The Magic acquired Milicic, along with guard Carlos Arroyo, from the Detroit Pistons during the 2005-06 season in exchange for forward Kelvin Cato and a future first-round pick.

The seven-foot Milicic was drafted second overall in the 2003 draft and saw limited action in his time with the Pistons.

In 2006-07, Milicic averaged career highs of 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.

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Three-point specialist Navarro leaving Spain, heading to Wizards
Associated Press

BARCELONA, Spain -- Guard Juan Carlos Navarro, whose rights are owned by the Washington Wizards, will be allowed by his Spanish club to leave for the NBA.

Winterthur FC Barcelona and the 27-year-old Navarro came to an arrangement that allowed him to leave.

"I am extremely happy with the help the club has given me ... to allow me to make my dream of playing in the NBA," Navarro said. "I always believed that I could go to the NBA and play against the best players in the world. Now I will try to make all the [3-pointers] possible on the courts of the NBA."

Navarro is one of the Spanish league's best shooters from behind the arc, boasting a 40 percent career average. In nine seasons, Navarro averaged 12.6 points per game and helped guide the Catalan club to four league titles and one European trophy.

He was also a member of Spain's world championship team that beat Greece for the title last September.

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Agent says Hill will sign with Suns
FOXSports.com

The Suns have found themselves another veteran.
Grant Hill informed Phoenix on Thursday that he would sign with the team for next season, his agent, Lon Babby, told the Arizona Republic.

Hill was offered the Suns' biennial exception, according to the report, meaning he will earn $1.83 million next year with a player option to return in 2008-09.

Money clearly wasn't the driving factor for Hill, who is coming off a seven-year, $92 million contract with the Orlando Magic.

"He established a number of criteria," Babby told the Republic. "His opportunity to contribute to a championship would be on the top of the list. He really thought it through and was diligent and concluded this is the best opportunity for his career. He's very, very excited about it."

Detroit, Orlando, San Antonio, Miami and Dallas were among the suitors for Hill, who was interested most in the chance to play for a championship-caliber team.

"The opportunity described to him is consistent with what he's looking for," Babby told the Republic. "He's not someone looking for anything granted to him but more that he'd have the opportunity to start."

Injuries have always been a concern for the 34-year-old Hill, but he is coming off one of his healtheir seasons, playing in 65 games last season for the Magic.

"His health is fine," Babby said. "There is every expectation that he will be healthy."

Babby said Phoenix didn't promise Hill a starting job, and he wasn't looking for one.

"I think all he was seeking was the opportunity to start," Babby said. "It was the same promise that was made to him when he went to Duke. Nobody guarantees you anything and he wasn't asking for guarantees."

The Magic knew Hill had an ankle injury when they traded Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins for him in 2000, but never expected it would take so long to heal. Hill appeared in just four games his first year with the Magic, 14 the next year and 29 the year after that. He missed the entire 2003-04 season.

Hill finally got on track in 2004-05, averaging almost 20 points and looking like the all-purpose player Orlando thought it was getting. Even then he couldn't stay off the injury list, missing 15 games with wrist and shin problems.

In 2005-06, it was a sports hernia and lower abdominal injuries for another 61 missed games.

Some fans wrote the 6-foot-8 star off as a pricey bench fixture, but others found Hill hard to dislike. He is widely considered one of pro basketball's nicest guys, and twice led the league in All-Star balloting (1995 and '96).

Hill proved again this season he could still play. The former Duke star averaged 15 points as Orlando was swept in the first-round by his former team, the Pistons, and just under that during the regular season. He was the Magic's best option driving the bucket, and at times seemed the only one playing with energy despite his age.

But Hill again missed 17 regular-season games this season with a knee sprain and other minor injuries.

For his career, Hill averages 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Despite all his success, he has never made it out of the first round of the NBA playoffs.

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Mavs set to re-sign Stackhouse
July 6th, 2007

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - The Dallas Mavericks have reportedly re-signed forward Jerry Stackhouse.

According to the Dallas Morning News, both sides have reached an agreement in principle on a three-year deal that will start at more than the mid-level exception.

Stackhouse averaged 12 points and 2.8 assists in 67 games coming off the bench last season for the Mavericks. The 12-year NBA veteran owns a career- average of 19.2 points with Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington and Dallas.

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Report: Billups to stay in Detroit
July 6th, 2007

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups reportedly agreed to a five-year, $60.5 million contract, with the fifth year a team option, on Friday.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the deal, which is the most lucrative for any Piston, cannot be made official until Wednesday when free agents can sign new deals.

Billups had opted out of his contract on June 25, making himself one of the top unrestricted free agents on the open market. He was in the final year of his six-year deal and was slated to make over $6 million in 2007-08.

Billups joined a free agent class that was short on standout point guards, meaning that he was in line for a big payday.

Originally the third overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft by Boston, Billups has averaged 14.5 points and 5.3 assists with the Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons.

He has found a home over the last five seasons in Detroit, guiding a Pistons team that has turned into perennial playoff contenders and won it all in 2004.

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Free Agent Peterson visits Jazz
By Associated Press

Free agent swingman Morris Peterson was in Salt Lake City, looking forward to meeting with the Utah Jazz.

''I'm going to their facility in the morning to talk with ownership, general manager Kevin O'Connor and people on the coaching staff and in the front office,'' Peterson said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Sunday night. ''Since I have some control as a free agent, I really want to play with a winner, like the Jazz, and with a team that believes in me.''

Peterson, who turns 30 next month, said Detroit, New Jersey, Cleveland, New Orleans, Miami and Toronto have expressed an interest in him. He has spent his entire seven-season career with the Raptors.

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Peterson, who can play shooting guard or small forward, has career averages of 12 points along with nearly four rebounds, two assists and a steal.

His production and playing time fell last season - averaging 8.9 points and 21.4 minutes - one season after career highs in scoring (16.8), rebounding (4.6), steals (1.3) and minutes (38) a game.

Peterson produced sporadically during a first-round series against the Nets in the 2007 playoffs. He scored 17 points in Toronto's Game 5 win, then had nine points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block in the next game when the Raptors were eliminated.

After helping Michigan State win the 2000 national championship, Peterson was drafted 21st overall by the Raptors. He averaged 14 points in his second and third NBA season and 12 1/2 in his fourth season.

As a restricted free agent in 2004, the New Orleans Hornets signed Peterson to a $15 million, three-year offer sheet and Toronto retained him by matching the deal.

As an unrestricted free agent, Peterson might get a contract for the midlevel exception that will pay as much as $6 million annually.

''Some of the big free agents like Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Chauncey Billups have done their deals already, so I think it's going to start picking up for a lot of other free agents still out there,'' Peterson said. ''A lot of teams have contracts with their first-round picks done, too, so they can really start focusing on free agency.

''I don't have any other visits set up right now and I've got my basketball camp Tuesday back home in Flint, so I'm ready to find a comfortable fit wherever that may be for the next step in my career.''

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