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Sonics Re-Sign Hersey Hawkins

July 21, 1996

SEATTLE (AP) _ The Seattle SuperSonics on Saturday re-signed free agent guard Hersey Hawkins to a five-year guaranteed contract. Terms were not disclosed.

``Hersey’s outstanding all-around play on the floor and his great character off the court were important ingredients in the Sonics’ success this year,″ Sonics president-general manager Wally Walker said. ``We are delighted to have him back with us.″

Before the signing, the Sonics were said to be offering Hawkins about $3 million a year. Hawkins was seeking closer to $5.5 million a year, according to published reports.

The Sonics won a franchise-best 64 games last season and reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1979.

Hawkins, who was also pursued by Detroit, said Friday he wanted to remain with the Sonics but felt slighted by their initial offer, reportedly $12 million over four years.

``All I’ve said is I only want what’s fair,″ the eight-year veteran said.

Hawkins, 29, averaged 15.6 points per game last season, his first with the Sonics. He started all 82 games and finished among the league leaders in steals (9th) and free-throw percentage (6th). He led the Sonics in 3-point shooting percentage (38.4 percent).

The signing of Hawkins means the Sonics starting backcourt will remain intact. The Sonics earlier reached agreement with All-Star Gary Payton on a seven-year, $85 million contract.

Seattle is also pursuing free-agent center Jim McIlvaine. Published reports said the 7-foot-1 McIlvaine is near agreement on a seven-year deal with the Sonics estimated to be worth between $30 million and $35 million.

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