The NBA’s runner-up for 2006 Sixth Man Of The Year (not to be confused with 7th Man Of The Year) Speedy Claxton has signed a 4 year, $24 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks. Said development takes Claxton off Sacramento’s list of targets.

Nene Hilario signed a ten year, $60 million extension with Denver over the weekend, which should all but guarantee K-Mart is playing elsewhere next season, regardless of the following from the Rocky Mountain News’ Chris Thomasson.

George Karl said last month he does not believe the Nuggets can have four frontcourt players with average salaries of $10 million. The Nuggets, with Martin and center Marcus Camby also in that spot, soon will have four in that territory.

“I was trying to be an amateur cap guy when I said it,” said Karl, downplaying the possibility of Martin being traded.

If Martin stays, the Nuggets could avoid the luxury tax next season. Nene would give them 10 players totaling a salary-cap figure of about $59 million, and the tax should be about $64 million. But Anthony’s deal would make the Nuggets strong tax candidates for 2007-08.

“I think Stan’s a great owner,” Karl said. “He wants to win. I think he would pay the luxury tax if we were to be a big-time winner.”

Karl said he still hopes to talk with Martin for the first time since the run-in, which came during Game 2 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Karl said it is a “high likelihood he could be part of the team” next season.

“He’s a (great) talent,” Karl said. “We’ve had a blip on our screen. I’ve been in the NBA a long time. I’ve been in a lot worse personality situation, in my opinion.”

Regarding playing time, Karl has no qualms about having Camby, Nene and Martin possibly back next season. He said there are “plenty of minutes” available.

I’d really like to read Chris McCosky’s summation of the battle between Da Bulls and Pistons for the services of Ben Wallace, but there’s a picture of Colin Fucking Farrell on the page and I do have some standards.

WizznutzzRex Chapman delivers the goods on Washington’s first round pick, Oleksiy Pecherov :

Pecherov (above, left) currently plays for a French team called “Paris Basket Racing.” He is on loan to this team from the Ukranian championship club “BC Kiev.” Thus, playing for the Washington Wizards will actually qualify as a nominal upgrade.

Pecherov’s current team also gave Tony Parker to the NBA, which means that, now that he has been drafted by an NBA team, Pecherov gets to date Nicolette Sheridan, I think.

According to the renowned Web site, Pecherov “has shown flashes of dominance, especially on the offensive end.” In Paris, a team he chose in part based on the league’s “exposure,” he has been “successful in revealing [his] talent to the scouts.” Watch out for this guy in the locker room!

Do not let it be said the New York Knicks are laying low this offseason : The New York Post’s Marc Berman reports New York has made a $1 million qualifying offer to C Jackie Butler.