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Spree Accepts Knicks Offer

Latrell Sprewell thought it over and decided he'd like to stick around the New York Knicks for a while.

Sprewell has decided to take the Knicks long-term contract extension of $61.9 million for five years. The team also had a two-year, $21 million offer on the table.

For a time, it seemed Sprewell would accept the two-year deal.

"I think if I had taken the two-year, I would have been wondering if it was the right thing," Sprewell said. "In the back of my mind I would have been thinking, `Let's stay healthy.' I just want to go out and play and not worry about being healthy because my contract is up in a couple of years.

"I'm happy with the numbers in the five-year deal. I feel more secure with that. That's what I feel more comfortable with."

Sprewell, 29, was fined $30,000 and suspended for one game, losing $100,000 in salary when he missed a week of training camp in Charleston, S.C., while he drove across the country. He also was fined $25,000 by the team earlier this year for comments made by his agent, Robert Gist, but that money was reportedly later returned.

He will be paid $9 million this season, the final year of the four-year deal he signed with Golden State in 1996. He was suspended for much of the 1997 season, losing more than $6 million in salary, after choking coach P.J. Carlesimo, and was traded to the Knicks before last season.

His new contract, which includes an opt-out clause after four years, will take effect next season.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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