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MacCulloch nets contract from N.J.

Report says 7-foot center will be paid nearly $34 million

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NEWARK, N.J. — Todd MacCulloch, a 7-footer who played for Philadelphia last season, has accepted an offer from the New Jersey Nets, The Sunday Star-Ledger reported.

The six-year deal is believed to be worth $33.75 million, the Newark newspaper said, citing a person close to MacCulloch.

MaCulloch would receive the NBA's $4.5 million midlevel exception this season and 10 percent increases each season afterward through the 2006-07 season.

MacCulloch visited the Nets on Thursday and Friday. Nets president Rod Thorn said he expects to hear from MacCulloch by Monday or Tuesday.

A call to the Nets by The Associated Press on Sunday was not immediately returned.

MacCulloch, who has played the past two seasons for the 76ers, is a restricted free agent. The 76ers will have 15 days from Wednesday, when the league's moratorium on player signings and trades is lifted, to match the offer.

But recent deals put a matching offer in question. The 76ers just agreed to a five-year deal with Dikembe Mutombo that's worth $13 million a year and a seven-year deal with Aaron McKie that is worth as much as $42 million.

KNICKS GET WEATHERSPOON: Clarence Weatherspoon, a rugged forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, reportedly is set to join a New York Knicks team looking to strengthen its frontline.

Newspapers in New York and Cleveland reported that the free agent has agreed to a five-year, $27 million contract. The deal is expected to become official this week when free agents may sign.

A Knicks' representative on Sunday said the team would not comment but acknowledged the team has met with Weatherspoon. A call to Weatherspoon's agent was not immediately returned.

Weatherspoon, who turns 31 in September, is a durable, 6-foot-7, 265-pounder who has spent nine seasons in the league. He started all 82 games last season, averaging 11.3 points and leading the Cavaliers in rebounds (9.7 per game) and shooting percentage (.501).

The Cavaliers reportedly wanted him back, although for a contract that did not cover as many years as the Knicks were offering.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer said Weatherspoon turned down a four-year, $24 million contract to stay with the Cavaliers.

Weatherspoon would give the Knicks more authority under the boards and insurance in case Larry Johnson's persistent back problems limit his play again.

Weatherspoon probably would come off the bench for the Knicks, playing behind Kurt Thomas.

The Cavaliers acquired Weatherspoon on Aug. 30 from Miami in a three-way trade that also involved Portland, which received Shawn Kemp from the Cavaliers.