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Sonics’ Baker Opts for Free Agency

June 26, 1999

SEATTLE (AP) _ Seattle SuperSonics forward Vin Baker has decided to terminate the remainder of his contract by opting for free agency as of July 1.

Baker, 27, a four-time All-Star coming off his worst season, will be free to sign with any club as of Thursday but has said his first choice is to remain with the Sonics.

The maximum he could receive would be a seven-year contract worth nearly $87 million from the Sonics. He could lose more than $20 million by signing with another club. The only ones with enough room under the salary cap to sign him are Toronto, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 6-foot-11 power forward would have received more than $2 million under his current contract, scheduled to run through 2001.

In the last season, shortened by a players strike, Baker reported to training camp about 20 pounds overweight, missed 16 games with thumb and knee injuries and averaged 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds. His previous lows were 13.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in his rookie season with Milwaukee.

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