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Bird says Granger's five-year extension shows Pacers value good players

INDIANAPOLIS -- Pacers president Larry Bird says Danny Granger's contract extension shows the Pacers value good players who are responsible on and off the court.

"He's been one of our hardest workers, and a guy that's improved every year since I've been here, since we've drafted him," Bird said before Indiana beat the Boston Celtics on Saturday. "I think it's very important to take care of the ones who do their job, are professional, and we're just glad to have an opportunity to get it done."


The contract extension, which was reported Friday, is believed to be worth a guaranteed $60 million, according to ESPN.com's Mark Stein. The new contract kicks in next season, with incentives that could push the total closer to $65 million.

The 6-foot-9 Granger has averaged 13.7 points per game in his first three seasons. Last year, he registered career-best averages in points (19.6), rebounds (6.1), steals (1.1) and 3-point field goal percentage (.404).

"He's always in great shape, and he just plays," Bird said.

Granger said on Thursday that he wants to achieve individual success, but only in the framework of winning as a team.

"My goal is always to become an All-Star, but more so, I want to get this team to the playoffs and have us be a contender, if not this year, the year after that," he said.

Granger has improved steadily since the Pacers drafted him in the first round -- 17th overall -- in 2005.

Granger said he wants to be a complete player.

"You can't really name too many star players in this league that can also play defense," Granger said. "Ron Artest, Kobe [Bryant] when he wants to. So that's my goal, not only to be a force on the offensive end, but on the defensive end also."

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.