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Hardaway to Suns? It's up to the Magic

Orlando's Penny Hardaway tentatively agreed to a seven-year, $86.6-million deal that would send him to the Suns.

"He's told us he wants to be here. We've finalized the contract, and now we're waiting for Orlando to pull the trigger," Suns president Jerry Colangelo said Wednesday.

The Suns would send Pat Garrity, Danny Manning and two draft picks to Orlando in exchange for the four-time All-Star guard.

Magic GM John Gabriel, who talked with Hardaway more than once Wednesday, said the deal is "the only trade left out there. It's a huge decision for us, obviously. A decision of this magnitude has to be thoroughly discussed and thought through to the end. We wanted to make sure we heard everything from the player himself."

The Orlando Sentinel reported the Magic will finalize the deal today.

"For all practical purposes, it's done," Hardaway's agent, Carl Poston, said. "We're just waiting for the Magic to consummate the deal."

Phoenix radio station KMGE reported Tuesday night the deal was completed. But Colangelo told the Associated Press nothing was final.

"It's not a done deal until we get the league office on the phone and we have the transaction take place," he said. "And we have not had that take place."

The Magic wants the sign-and-trade deal, even one that might not bring the kind of value it thinks Hardaway is worth, in order to get some compensation.

A sign-and-trade deal is the only way the Suns could get Hardaway, because they have no room under the salary cap to sign him outright as a free agent.

The 28-year-old guard has averaged 19 points in six seasons, but dropped to 15.8 last season.

Orlando is in the midst of a roster overhaul. The Magic traded Nick Anderson to Sacramento on Tuesday for Tariq Abdul-Wahad and a first-round draft pick.

CAVS: The team traded G Derek Anderson to the Clippers after failing to reach agreement with him on a long-term contract extension.

In return for Anderson and veteran F Johnny Newman, the team gets F Lamond Murray in a sign-and-trade arrangement.

HEAT: Free-agent F Otis Thorpe, the 16th player with 15,000 points and 10,000 rebounds, signed. Terms weren't disclosed.

"By acquiring Otis Thorpe, we have taken care of our first priority by fortifying our frontline," coach Pat Riley said.

KINGS: F Lawrence Funderburke re-signed and free-agent PG Darrick Martin was signed to undisclosed contracts.

NUGGETS: One day after being acquired from the Celtics, along with Popeye Jones and Dwayne Schintzius, Ron Mercer was a no-show for a news conference with his new employers.

"Ron Mercer will not be here and we have learned that somebody told Mercer in Boston yesterday that we had already agreed to extend his contract," GM Dan Issel said. "We had no prior conversations with Ron or his agent."

Mercer, who will be in the final year of a contract that expires at the end of next season, reportedly said Tuesday that he would not come to Denver until a contract extension was offered.

A Boston Globe story said the Nuggets were prepared to offer the player a six-year extension.

"I think he was disappointed and I think that is why he is not here," Issel said. "He was under the impression there was going to be an extension when he got here."

Issel denied making such an offer and said there won't be one.

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