- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Washington Wizards have re-signed guard DeShawn Stevenson for the next four seasons, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Sources with knowledge of the situation indicated that the deal is for four seasons and $15 million. Stevenson has a player option for the fourth season. According to the sources, the Wizards used a portion of the mid-level exception, which has a starting-year salary of $5.356 million.

With Stevenson in the fold, the Wizards now will turn their attention to 20-year-old forward Andray Blatche. Blatche, raw and still developing, could be the target of some teams in the coming days. However, the Wizards have indicated that they intend to keep Blatche. Working in their favor also is the fact that most teams already are over the salary cap.

Jarvis Hayes, a restricted free agent, is not in the team’s plans, according to league and team sources. New Orleans is believed to be interested in Hayes.

Stevenson’s deal means that the Wizards almost certainly will continue to shop the rights to Spanish point guard Juan Carlos Navarro, 27. A number of teams have inquired about trading for him. One drawback, though, is that the Wizards are believed to want to package center Etan Thomas — owed about $20 million over the next three seasons — who has a 15 percent trade kicker in his contract.

The Wizards acquired Stevenson last year for a bargain, signing the seven-year veteran to a one-year deal at just under $1 million with the player having the option for a second season.

Last summer Stevenson walked away from a three-year, $10 million offer from the Magic. He signed with the Wizards knowing that he would not exercise the option year in his deal and that he would become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Talks between Stevenson and the team are believed to have begun with the Wizards offering $9 million over three years. The Wizards are believed to have come back with a second offer of $15 million over four seasons.

Negotiations between both sides have been described as amicable. During the regular season, when Stevenson told The Washington Times that he would not exercise the option year in his contract, he also said that he wanted to return to the Wizards.

His stance didn’t change during negotiations and now Stevenson, 26, will make his home in Washington for a few more seasons barring a trade.

With Stevenson, the Wizards will have 11 players signed. Already over the salary cap ($55.63 million) for the upcoming season, Washington had to use a portion of the mid-level exception to sign Stevenson.

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