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 Wednesday, March 29
Sonics' Payton, Maxwell fined by team news services

 SEATTLE -- Gary Payton and Vernon Maxwell have made up after a locker-room brawl that left two of their Seattle SuperSonics teammates hurt.

Gary Payton

Vernon Maxwell

"Whenever you go through a thing like Gary and Max went through, it is over the next day," said center Horace Grant. "Max and Gary are back on the same page. It's like a relationship and a marriage, you go through your ups and downs."

The scrap happened Sunday, after a practice session in which Payton and Maxwell exchanged barbs. It escalated into a fight, which Grant and Chuck Person helped to end by pulling their teammates away from each other.

Payton and Maxwell made up before to the Sonics played the San Antonio Spurs here Monday.

However, Grant sat out Monday night's game with a bruised shoulder and Person, who was already on the injured list, aggravated his surgically repaired left knee. The struggling Sonics fell to the Spurs 90-82, their fourth straight home loss.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Tuesday that the scene became so intense in the locker room after Sunday's practice that Payton picked up a chair and Maxwell went to find a free weight, presumably to use as a weapon. Both men had to be restrained again and were escorted from the locker room separately.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Grant's shoulder injury was due to a weight that was thrown in the altercation. Grant did not comment on his injury, except to say, "I was a victim of circumstance."

But Maxwell told ESPN's David Aldridge on Tuesday there was no fight. "We had words," Maxwell said. "That's all that happened. That was basically it. It got a little heated, like we were going to fight, but it never did happen."

The Sonics fined Payton and Maxwell an undisclosed amount for the incident, a source told ESPN on Tuesday. Neither player will be suspended and no further disciplinary action was planned, the source said.

"Both were wrong, and I told them that," Sonics president Wally Walker told the Post-Intelligencer. "They have to work it out between the two of them so it doesn't affect the team and staff. If they put the onus on the team to settle this, they won't like what could happen."

Maxwell, whose locker is next to Payton's, dressed at a different locker Monday night. On the court, Payton and Maxwell seemed friendly, exchanging high-fives at different points in the evening. Neither Sonic would comment on the altercation.

The Sonics have been struggling, with a 13-17 record since Jan. 20. They have not beaten a club with a winning record since Feb. 28.

Grant was expected to play Tuesday night when the Sonics play host to the New York Knicks.

With a 40-30 record and in eighth place in the Western Conference, coach Paul Westphal hopes the scuffle will motivate the Sonics.

"I told them that all the prophecies that everybody made about this team are going to come true if we don't fix it," Westphal said. "We've taken a lot of steps to prove we're a good team, and this is not the time to take steps backward. This is the time to band together."

With 12 games remaining, the Sonics trail the Sacramento Kings by one game for seventh place in the playoff race.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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