Updated: Oct. 19, 2006, 4:12 PM ET
Sources: Mavs, Howard agree on four-year extensionBy Marc Stein
The Dallas Mavericks and Josh Howard on Thursday reached agreement on a four-year contract extension believed to be worth in excess of $40 million, team sources told ESPN.com.
The Mavericks and Howard were facing an Oct. 31 deadline to agree on an extension and prevent Howard from becoming a restricted free agent in July.
The new contract won't kick in until next season, with Howard scheduled to earn $1.7 million in the final year of his rookie contract.
Howard, who was eligible for a five-year extension, admitted in recent days he was "disappointed" with the slow pace of negotiations but also told ESPN.com earlier this month that he hadn't abandoned hope of securing a new deal before the Halloween buzzer.
"You never know," Howard said with a smile on Oct. 7.
It's believed the Mavericks, sensing the issue might linger with Howard all season, increased their offer in recent days to make it clear to the swingman how much they value him.
Howard has been Dallas' best player in training camp, showing little outward sign of being distracted by his contractual situation, but the absence of an extension before the regular season could easily have been perceived as another slight for a player who slipped to No. 29 in the 2003 draft.
Reaching terms with Howard means Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will have awarded new contracts to four of the biggest names in the organization since the Mavericks made their first trip to the NBA Finals in June: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, coach Avery Johnson and Howard.