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JUDGE UPHOLDS DUDLEY CONTRACT

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A federal judge upheld a seven-year contract signed by Chris Dudley with the Portland Trail Blazers that the NBA claimed was an attempt to "subvert" the salary cap. A one-year escape clause allows Dudley to become a free agent again next year.

The league argued the clause gave the Blazers an end-around the salary cap. Instead of breaking up a successful lineup, Portland only dropped a lesser player to make room for Dudley, who agreed to just $790,000 the first year of the contract.The 6-foot-11 center rejected an offer worth nearly twice that much from the Nets, who paid him $1.2 million last year.

After one season, Dudley could become a free agent again and Portland could sweeten its offer, because salary cap rules allow teams to sign their own free agents for any amount.