Mavericks sign Howard to reported $40M extension

DALLAS -- After re-signing Jason Terry and rewarding Dirk Nowitzki with an extension, the Dallas Mavericks have taken care of their best two-way player.

The Mavericks on Saturday signed swingman Josh Howard to a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not announced, but ESPN.com reported last week that Howard agreed to a four-year deal worth more than $40 million.

Dallas needed to sign Howard to an extension by Oct. 31 to prevent him from becoming a restricted free agent in July.

"Josh has been vital to the success of the Dallas Mavericks," Mavericks president Donnie Nelson said. "We believe that he is a significant part of this franchise's future."

A first-round pick in 2003, Howard, 26, will earn $1.7 million in the final year of his rookie contract before the extension kicks in.

Since reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history last June, the Mavericks re-signed Terry, who was an unrestricted free agent, to a six-year contract worth more than $50 million and locked up Nowitzki to a three-year extension worth $60 million.

The 6-7 Howard has steadily improved in each of his three seasons with the Mavericks and is the team's best defensive player. He averaged 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds as Dallas won 60 games and reached the Finals.

"From the day we drafted Josh, he has really worked hard to become an elite NBA player and we look forward to watching him continue to develop," Nelson said. "We are ecstatic to keep him in the Mavericks family."

In three years with Dallas, Howard has averaged 12.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 202 career games.