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Webber reportedly to stay a King

After a delayed start, the free-agent market opened Wednesday with Chris Webber reportedly deciding to stay with the Sacramento Kings.

A few players signed contracts with new teams as an 18-day moratorium on free-agent signings expired. Patrick Ewing went from Seattle to Orlando, Eddie Robinson moved from Charlotte to Chicago, Tyronn Lue left the Lakers to play for Washington, and former San Antonio guard Avery Johnson signed with Denver.

Ewing, who made $14-million with Seattle last season, will earn about $2.25-million with the Magic.

"It wasn't a money issue," Ewing said. "It's about being somewhere where you're wanted, somewhere where you can make a difference, somewhere where you can be happy."

Other signings, including Horace Grant's move to Orlando, were held up while the attorneys from the league and the union argued over which revenue streams should be included in salary cap calculations.

Some 18 hours after the cap was supposed to be adjusted, it was increased from $35.5-million to $42.5-million after the league and union resolved their standoff.

"We worked through our differences and reached a mutually satisfactory agreement," said Joel Litvin, the NBA executive vice president of legal and business affairs.

The increase of $7-million from last season's cap of $35.5-million represented the second-largest year-to-year jump since the cap was instituted for the 1984-85 season.

CELTICS: Free-agent guard Milt Palacio agreed with the team on a two-year contract worth about $1.43-million.

HAWKS: The team said it has agreed to terms with backup center Nazr Mohammed. Terms were not disclosed. The actual contract would not be signed until today, the team said.

NETS: The team officially signed off on the exchange that brought Jason Kidd to New Jersey and sent Stephon Marbury to the Phoenix Suns. Veteran center Chris Dudley also came to New Jersey in the five-player deal that sent Marbury, forward Johnny Newman and center Soumaila Samake to Phoenix.

RAPTORS: Forward Jerome Williams signed a seven-year, $40.8-million contract.

76ERS: Pat Croce, whose contract as team president has expired, met with Comcast-Spectacor chairman and CEO Ed Snider and Comcast Corp. president Brian L. Roberts late Tuesday to discuss his future in the organization. Croce and Snider were unavailable for comment Wednesday. When contacted, Roberts said he had "no comment."

Aaron McKie, the league's sixth man of the year, signed a seven-year, $42-million deal to stay with Philadelphia. The deal guarantees McKie $35.5-million, but could reach $42-million with incentives.

WIZARDS: The team re-signed forward Popeye Jones.


ORLANDO 57, HOUSTON 52: Taj McWilliams-Franklin scored 16, including six straight down the stretch for the visiting Miracle. McWilliams-Franklin, who started for the Eastern Conference in Monday night's All-Star Game in Orlando, also had a season-high 13 rebounds.