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NBA Notebook: Pistons agree to deals with Gordon, Villanueva

Associated Press
The NBA notebook …
DETROIT ó A person with the knowledge of the negotiations says the Detroit Pistons have agreed in principle to contracts with free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday night on the condition of anonymity because NBA rules prohibit teams from announcing free agent signings until next week.
Gordon, the third pick in the 2004 draft by the Chicago Bulls, agreed to a 5-year deal for at least $50 million. He was the Bulls’ top scorer the past four years and became an unrestricted free agent after the season. Chicago officials had said bringing him back next year was a top priority.
The 26-year-old Gordon averaged 20.7 points during the regular season before scoring 24.3 points during the playoffs when the Bulls lost to the Celtics in seven games.
Villanueva averaged 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds last season for the Bucks.
– AUBURN HILLS, Mich. ó Detroit Pistons executive Joe Dumars says he wants to name a replacement for fired coach Michael Curry in time for next week’s developmental league opening in Las Vegas.
SHAQ SURFACES
CLEVELAND ó Shaquille O’Neal took his first look at his new basketball home.
The 15-time All-Star center toured the Cavaliers’ suburban practice facility and took his physical on Wednesday, one day before he is formally introduced as superstar LeBron James’ newest teammate.
O’Neal and a small group of associates met briefly with Cavs coach Mike Brown and others at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio. The Cavaliers are hoping O’Neal, who has won four NBA titles, can be the missing piece to help James win his first and championship and end the city’s title drought dating to 1964.
The Cavaliers have scheduled a 1 p.m. news conference today.
THE BIG 3
WALTHAM, Mass. ó The Big Three of the Boston Celtics very well could stick around beyond their current contracts with a changing cast of supporting players.
Ray Allen will be 34 after the one year left on his contract, Paul Pierce will be 33 after his two remaining years and Kevin Garnett will be 36 after the three years left on his deal.
General manager Danny Ainge was enthusiastic Wednesday about the idea that they might stay longer than that if they are healthy.
“Absolutely, no question,” he said. “If they take good care of themselves, which all three of them do, and they stay healthy I think there’s a really good chance.”
KNICKS
NEW YORK ó The Knicks are trying to persuade Jason Kidd to come to New York, while deciding how much they want David Lee and Nate Robinson to stay.
The Knicks hope Kidd would consider a return to the New York area after starring for New Jersey before he was dealt to Dallas in February 2008.
ARTEST
HOUSTON ó If LeBron James or Kobe Bryant are looking for a little help, Ron Artest is taking calls.
The Rockets star forward, an unrestricted free agent, will consider a team’s chances of winning an NBA championship when deciding where he’ll bring his skills next season, his agent says.

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