League sources say that the Sonics have reached an impasse in negotiations with All-Star guard Ray Allen. Seattle's final offer, made approximately two weeks ago, was a five-year extension worth $75 million. Allen responded by asking for a bonus that would increase the contract to $80 million if his production remained at 85% or more of his current level over the first three years of the deal. But the Sonics rejected that proposal, and it appears that the club will allow Allen to become a free agent this summer, when the Clippers, Hawks, Hornets and potentially the Cavaliers may compete with Seattle to sign him.
This is an article from the March 7, 2005 issue
Based on his current $14.6 million salary, the maximum Allen could receive is $95 million over five years. He is willing to accept $15 million less even though he is having arguably his best season while leading Seattle (38-15 through Sunday) to a shocking 12 1/2-game Northwest Division lead over the Timberwolves. The Sonics feel that their offer is more than generous for a 29-year-old--Steve Nash was 30 last summer when he signed his five-year, $53 million contract with the Suns--and they want to keep enough money to re-sign free agents like Vladimir Radmanovic, Antonio Daniels and Reggie Evans this summer.
But rival team executives suggest that Seattle is maintaining a hard line with Allen because the team is up for sale. Management has strongly denied it: "If that was true, then we wouldn't have made the offer to Ray that we did," says team president and minority owner Wally Walker. But the rumors of a sale have persisted since last summer because the Sonics have refused to re-sign G.M. Rick Sund, coach Nate McMillan or any of their seven free agents--giving any potential owner maximum flexibility. --Ian Thomsen