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Mavericks Sign Forwards

Forward Gary Trent, who coach Don Nelson wooed with a family vacation to Hawaii "to rub his belly and let him know we love him," on Friday signed a two-year, $4.2 million contract to remain with the Dallas Mavericks.

The salary cap-strapped Mavericks also signed swingman Cedric Ceballos to a two-year, $7.4 million deal.

Just a few weeks ago, it appeared the Mavericks would lose both. Re-signing the veterans was quite a coup for the team that's had the worst record of all pro sports teams in the 1990s.

Trent, whom the Mavericks signed before last season as a free agent, averaged 16 points and 7.8 rebounds last season But league rules prevented the Mavericks from offering him a long-term deal that exceeded salary cap restraints because he hadn't been on the roster long enough.

That's why Nelson paid for Trent, his fiancee, infant son, parents and future mother-in-law to spend a week in Maui, all paid for by the Mavericks. The NBA made it an even more expensive trip by fining Dallas $25,000.

Trent reportedly rejected a three-year, $12 million package from Seattle. The Mavericks were more than happy to take him back, with Nelson promising to make him a go-to guy.

Ceballos tested the free agent market last year, but ended up signing a one-year deal with Dallas at a league-minimum $725,000. He was playing well until breaking both his wrists and having them surgically repaired in March.

The SuperSonics also went after Ceballos, reportedly offering him a six-year deal. The Mavericks got him to agree to a pact that will pay him $3.5 million in 1999-2000 and $3.9 million in 2000-01.

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