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Payton sticks with Sonics for $85-million

Gary Payton, the most sought-after point guard among free agents, stayed with the Sonics, signing a seven-year deal worth $85-million.

Payton helped the Sonics to the NBA Finals, averaging 19.3 points, 7.5 assists and 2.85 steals during the regular season. The NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, he averaged 20.7 points, 6.8 assists and 1.7 steals in 11 playoff games.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Payton, who turns 28 today, has spent his entire six-year career with Seattle since the SuperSonics selected him with the second overall pick in the 1990 draft out of Oregon State.

The SuperSonics also signed free-agent guard/forward Craig Ehlo, 34, to a three-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.

RAPTORS-MAVS TRADE: Toronto acquired one of the league's top rebounders, getting Popeye Jones from Dallas. Toronto also got a first-round draft pick for guard Jimmy King and a pair of second-round draft picks.

Jones, 6-foot-8, averaged 11.3 points and 10.8 rebounds last season. The deal also gives Toronto the right to exchange first-round picks next year with Minnesota, unless the pick is the first overall. Dallas, meanwhile, gets the Raptors' second-round picks in 1997 and '98.

The Raptors also renounced their rights to center Oliver Miller, who opted out of the remaining two years of his contract at the end of last season and became a free agent.

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