Jefferson led Nets in points, minutes last year

Updated: August 16, 2004, 2:37 AM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Forward Richard Jefferson signed a six-year, $78 million contact extension with the New Jersey Nets.

Jefferson, currently in Greece as a member of the U.S. Olympic team, agreed to the deal last week and the Nets announced Friday he had signed it. He would have become a restricted free agent after next season.

Jefferson averaged a team-high 18.5 points and 38.2 minutes a game last season. Jefferson also averaged 5.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.12 steals a game, and appeared in a career-high 82 games.

Jefferson's signing came just weeks a series of roster moves that left the team without forward Kenyon Martin and shooting guard Kerry Kittles.

New Jersey was forced to sign and then 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 bonuses had they matched a planned Nuggets offer sheet.

Kittles was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for a second-round draft choice.

New Jersey has signed forward Eric Williams and guard Ron Mercer in the past week.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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