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Nets reach agreement in principle with Outlaw

The New Jersey Nets reached an agreement in principle with free-agent forward Travis Outlaw yesterday.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that Outlaw got a five-year deal worth $35 million. The person requested anonymity because financial terms of the deal were not being disclosed.

Outlaw played 34 games with the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers last season. He averaged 9.9 points and 3.5 rebounds with the Trail Blazers and 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds with the Clippers.

The agreement was the Nets' first since free agency started last week, and it's not even close to being one that would excite New Jersey fans after the Nets won only 12 games last season.

The wish list for new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and president and general manager Rod Thorn included LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, with Rudy Gay heading the fallback position.

Gay re-signed with Memphis. Wade stayed in Miami, and James and Bosh are joining him there. The Nets also courted Utah forward Carlos Boozer but were outbid by Chicago.

Gay staying in Memphis

The Grizzlies serenaded Gay yesterday even though he already had agreed to remain in Memphis.

But before he actually signed the five-year contract at the FedExForum, he watched a video presentation of some of his highlight plays, a live band played and local politicians praised him for his charitable contributions in Memphis.

"I feel like I won an Oscar or something," Gay said.

Gay inked an $82-million deal to stay with the only team the four-year NBA veteran has known. More than 150 fans attended the signing ceremony, a show of the optimism about a Grizzlies team with five starters returning from last season.

The Grizzlies finished with a 40-42 record and fell short of reaching the playoffs.

Owner Michael Heisley, who signed general manager Chris Wallace and coach Lionel Hollins to multiyear contracts earlier this year, said he expects the Grizzlies to reach the playoffs with Gay.

"We talked today and he is committed to getting us further along in the playoffs than the Memphis Grizzlies have ever been," Heisley said. "That's what we are looking for this year. Not next year, this year."

Blake joins Lakers

Guard Steve Blake has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers announced the deal after agreeing to terms with the veteran guard last week. Blake got a four-year contract worth $16 million from the two-time defending NBA champions.

Blake finished last season with the Los Angeles Clippers after arriving in February in a trade with Portland. He averaged 8.6 points and 4.8 assists in his seventh NBA season.

Blake could be an important part of the Lakers' rotation next season, particularly if point guard Derek Fisher leaves Los Angeles as a free agent.

Haywood, Mavs agree

Brendan Haywood is coming back to the Dallas Mavericks - as the starting center.

Haywood agreed to a six-year, $55-million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because details still were being finalized.

Dallas acquired the 7-footer from Washington as part of a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline last season. He played a big part as the Mavs got on a roll soon after, but he lost playing time - and his starting job - to Erick Dampier down the stretch. - AP

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