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Marion, Phoenix Agrees to 6-Yr. Deal

August 2, 2002

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PHOENIX (AP) _ Phoenix forward Shawn Marion, one of the Suns’ main building blocks for the future, agreed to a $79 million, six-year contract Thursday.

A team official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the agreement but declined to discuss details until after Marion signs, which will probably be early next week.

The amount of the agreement is known because it represents 25 percent of the salary cap, the maximum allowed for a player in Marion’s category, under the collective bargaining agreement.

Dan Fagan, Marion’s agent, did not immediately return two phone calls to his office seeking comment.

Marion, a 24-year-old forward, has a year remaining on his rookie contract because the team exercised its option to a fourth year.

The new deal, necessary to prevent him from becoming a restricted free agent at the end of next season, begins in 2003 and makes him a member of the Suns through the 2008-09 season.

Coach Frank Johnson, who signed his first head coaching contract on April 18, plans to build around Marion, guards Stephon Marbury and Joe Johnson and center Jake Tsakalidis. Phoenix was 36-46 this season _ its worst record in 14 years _ and missed the playoffs for the first time in that span.

Marion, drafted No. 9 overall in 1999, set career highs in 2001-02 with 19.1 points, 38.4 minutes per game and 3-point percentage (.393). He averaged 9.9 rebounds _ just missing out on a second straight season double-double after averaging 17.3 points and 10.7 rebounds in 2000-01.

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