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Mason stays put in Seattle

SEATTLE, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The Seattle SuperSonics have exercised their club option on swingman Desmond Mason, according to General Manager Rick Sund. It means Mason now is signed through the 2003-04 NBA season.

"I hope this extension is the beginning of a long career in Seattle," Mason said.

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"Due to the collective bargaining agreement, we knew we had until Oct. 31 to exercise our option on Desmond," Sund said. "We wanted to do it before training camp. Desmond is a big part of our future and we are extremely pleased to have him under contract for the next two years."

Mason, 24, who can play either guard or forward, appeared in 75 games last season, averaging 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest. He shot 46 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the foul line.

"I'm glad the Sonics are providing me the opportunity to continue my career in Seattle," said Mason. "It's a great city with great fans and great team ownership. I really enjoy playing for Coach (Nate) McMillan. I like his philosophy and the direction our team is going. I hope this extension is the beginning of a long career in Seattle."

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Mason, the Sonics' first-round draft choice in the 2000 draft, No. 17 overall, was named to the All-Rookie Second Team following the 2000-01 season. He won the 2001 NBA Slam Dunk contest and was the runnerup last season.

"We're excited to have Desmond on the team for the next two seasons," said McMillan. "He's a young player who has shown tremendous potential and versatility."

The Sonics' regular season tips off at home on Oct. 30 against Phoenix.

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