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Paul, Hornets reach deal

Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS ó Chris Paul and the Hornets reached a contract agreement Thursday that could keep the All-Star point guard with the team for at least the next four seasons.
Lance Young, Paulís agent, said Paul agreed to a three-year extension with a playerís option for a fourth year. The total value of the deal is $68 million.
Paul has one season left on his current contract. Under league rules, the first day the Hornets can formalize Paulís new contract is July 9.
The Hornets will pay Paul the maximum allowable under the NBAís collective bargaining agreement, starting at 25 percent of the salary cap for the first year of the extension, with 10 percent raises thereafter.
The Hornets also have sold more than 5,000 new season tickets for next season. The Hornets now have about 10,000 season-ticket holders, the most theyíve had since moving to New Orleans from Charlotte for the 2002-03 season.
BULLS
CHICAGO ó Former NBA coaches Bernie Bickerstaff and Del Harris are returning to the sidelines, this time as assistants under new Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro.
Bickerstaff served as head coach and general manager of the Charlotte Bobcats their first three years before becoming executive vice president of basketball operations last season. He has a 415-517 record in 13-plus seasons as a head coach with Seattle, Denver, Washington and Charlotte.
WIZARDS
WASHINGTON ó Gilbert Arenas has agreed to re-sign with the Wizards for $111 million over six years, essentially taking millions less so that his team could have more financial flexibility, two newspapers reported.
i(The Wizards) offered me the max, and Iím basically giving back $16 million,î Arenas told the Washington Times from China, where is traveling as part of promotional tour for a shoe company. iThis is in line with what Iíve been saying the whole time. You see players take max deals, and they financially bind their teams. I donít wanna be one of those players and three years down the road your team is strapped and canít do anything about it.î
Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY ó Oklahoma City, which temporarily hosted the New Orleans Hornets for two seasons following Hurricane Katrina, finally got its first major league franchise of its own when SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett settled a lawsuit with the city of Seattle to clear the way to move the franchise.
The team is headed to Oklahoma City after 41 years and one NBA title in Seattle. The championship banners, the 1979 title trophy and the retired jerseys of Jack Sikma, Lenny Wilkens and Nate McMillan will remain in storage in Seattle in the hopes that the SuperSonics name and colors will be resurrected.

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