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Blazers To Get Kemp For Grant?

The Portland Trail Blazers are prepared to sign, then trade Brian Grant to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Shawn Kemp, The Oregonia reported Monday.

According to the sources, the Blazers are hopeful that the financial leverage they wield will convince Grant to take the sign-and-trade option and join the Cavaliers. Cleveland initially was interested in acquiring Grant only if he came with no more than a new five-year contract.

But the Cavaliers now are willing to take on a six-year contract, the sources said. Grant would agree to sign with the Blazers for close to $9 million-plus next season, the maximum amount the league allows a six-year veteran to receive in a new contract.

Annual increases could bring the total value of a six-year contract to more than $70 million.

The team does not comment on contract negotiations or trades, Blazers spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said.

But one source cited by The Oregonian said weekend negotiations "made it clearer than ever that the Kemp-Grant trade is very likely."

"I think this deal is going to happen," the newspaper quoted the other source as saying.

Grant's agent, however, said no deal, including one with Cleveland, was imminent.

"Nothing is on the table right now. Nothing is close," Mark Bartelstein said.

Kemp's agent, Tony Dutt, declined to talk about the potential of a Portland-Cleveland deal but said Kemp would be excited to play for the Blazers.

"This would be a tremendous opportunity for Shawn," Dutt said.

Kemp has tremendous respect for Blazers President Bob Whitsitt and assistant coach Tim Grgurich, Dutt said.

"Shawn would look forward to going to Portland and winning a championship, which has always been his goal," Dutt said.

NBA teams may begin signing free agents and resume trading on Tuesday.

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