Dallas Mavericks managed to reach an agreement with forward Josh Howard about a four-year contract extension on Thursday.
With the new extension, the mavs will keep him through the season of 2010-11, same as teammate Dirk Nowitzki and coach Avery Johnson. The new deal is reported to be worth over $ 40 million allowing Howard to dramatically increase his pay of $ 1.7 million this season, which is the last on his rookie-scale contract. The
Forward Howard was eligible for a five-year extension but fortunately he managed to settle for a four-year deal after a harsh month of negotiations. Mavericks had until Oct. 31st to reach a deal to prevent Howard from becoming a restricted free agent next season. The announcement of the deal just occurred on time, one week before the deadline.
Howard averaged a career-high 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds during his third NBA season helping the Mavericks in their most successful playoff run in their history before they lost to the Miami Heat in six games in the NBA Finals. Howard was also Dallas' best player in training camp, showing little outward sign of being distracted by his contractual situation. However the absence of an extension before the regular season could easily have been perceived as a negative sign for a player who slipped to No. 29 in the 2003 draft.
The Mavericks acknowledged that the issue might have bothered Howard during the whole season. The managing staff and owner Mark Cuban decided to increase their offer in recent days to avoid alienating the swingman and make sure he felt like a valued member of the Mavs' roster.
This deal is scheduled to be signed on Friday. With this new contract extension, Cuban would have awarded in total new contracts to four of the biggest names in the organization since the loss in the NBA Finals: Nowitzki, Terry, Johnson and Howard.