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Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 8, 2001

Grant seeks a reunion with Magic

ORLANDO -- Horace Grant went to the NBA Finals once with the Magic, playing alongside Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway in 1995.

He wants to do it again, this time with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill in 2002.

Grant, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward, said he is ready to leave the NBA champion Lakers and return to Orlando, providing the frontcourt presence and veteran leadership that the Magic will need next season.

"Who's to say the Magic can't make it to the final from the East next season if they can add a right piece or two?" Grant said. "And I can still provide the defense and muscle they need on the frontline. It would be a perfect fit."

Grant, who turned 36 this month, became a free agent July 1. He started 77 regular-season games and all 16 playoff games for the Lakers, who won consecutive NBA titles.

Although he has lost some quickness and jumping ability, Grant still did an admirable job defensively in the playoffs, working against Western Conference power forwards Rasheed Wallace (Trail Blazers), Chris Webber (Kings) and Tim Duncan (Spurs).

The Lakers have expressed some interest in re-signing him but are asking him to take considerably less than the $6-million he made last season.

If Orlando opts to sign Grant, it could keep much of its team intact, using all or part of the $4.5-million salary-cap exception.

Grant is scheduled to meet with Magic coach Doc Rivers today to talk about what role he would play. Free agents can begin signing July 18.

KNICKS: Barring the unexpected, Allan Houston will sign a six-year contract worth close to $100-million on July 18. That will make him the highest-paid player in franchise history.

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