Jefferson gets $78M extension from Nets
"Richard's work ethic over the past three years has produced a significant development in his basketball performance," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "The Nets management feels very strongly that Richard will continue this upward spiral and be a cornerstone of this franchise."
Jefferson would have become a restricted free agent after next season.
The announcement comes just weeks after New Jersey was forced to sign and trade Martin to Denver rather than match a proposed seven-year, $90 million contract. The Nets would have had to pay Martin $23 million in salary and front-loaded bonuses had they matched a planned Nuggets offer sheet.
The Nets were further dismantled when Kittles was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for a second-round draft choice.
Jefferson, entering his fourth NBA season, averaged a team-high 18.5 points and 38.2 minutes a game last season. He also averaged 5.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.12 steals a game, appearing in a career-high 82 games.
The runner-up for NBA rookie of the year in 2001-02, the 6-foot-7 Jefferson was acquired by the Nets in June 2001 from the Houston Rockets.
Jefferson is currently playing for the U.S. Olympic team.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Kings owner: Coach must be 'jazz director'
- Bulls' Noah says he'll return to face Knicks
- Spurs to be without Parker, Leonard vs. Griz
- Bucks' Parker lost for season to torn ACL
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
- Warriors' Run Ends At 16
- In a battle of the NBA's best, Memphis put an end to Golden State's franchise-best win streak.