Terry, Mavericks quickly agree to six-year deal

Updated: July 1, 2006, 3:44 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry made it as close to official as the rules allow Saturday, telling ESPN.com that he has accepted the Mavericks' free-agent contract offer.

"Yes sir," Terry said. "I'm not going anywhere. I just want to stay with the team and the city that's been faithful to me."

Point Guard
Dallas Mavericks

Profile
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
80 17.1 2.0 3.8 .470 .800

Terry and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have both made it clear in recent days that they expected a quick resolution to the negotiations. The talks began one minute past midnight Saturday and a verbal agreement was reached by lunchtime on a six-year deal believed to be worth more than $50 million.

Cuban told The Associated Press: "[Terry] wanted to come back and we wanted him back. ... Jason was critical to our first-ever Finals and he wants to help lead us to more. I'm confident we can get Dirk [Nowitzki's] extension done and have started the ball rolling with Josh [Howard]."

Terry can't officially sign his new contract until July 12, but the 28-year-old struggled to contain his glee over the phone from his hometown of Seattle.

"I was very fortunate when this team got me out of Atlanta," Terry said of the August 2004 trade that brought him to the Mavs as their replacement for Steve Nash.

"The city of Dallas embraced me right away and I'll never forget that. This is where I've always wanted to be. I was not going to go around and search for offers or make visits or anything like that."

Terry was also motivated to sign quickly because of his previous free-agent experience. In the summer of 2003, as a restricted free agent, he signed a three-year offer sheet with Utah that the Hawks ultimately matched, but those steps didn't take place until late in the offseason.

"That was the longest summer of my life," Terry said. "That whole process went down to the last possible day. This summer, I wanted to get it over as quickly as possible."

Terry became the Mavs' unquestioned starter at the point this season and raised his scoring average from 12.4 points per game to 17.1. He upped that to 18.9 points per game during a roller-coaster playoffs in which he posted three 30-point games, but also served a one-game suspension for punching ex-teammate Michael Finley, to help Dallas reach the NBA Finals for the first time.

Nash's stunningly quick free-agent defection to Phoenix in July 2004 made the Mavs [and Mavs fans] especially eager to secure a commitment from Terry quickly. Dallas is still pursuing free-agent guard Mike James, with Mavs coach Avery Johnson intrigued by the idea of starting Terry and James together, and confident that it will re-sign Nowitzki and Howard to contract extensions before the start of next season.

"The important thing is to keep this thing intact," said Terry, who has grown as close to Nowitzki as any Maverick in the wake of Nowitzki's best friend, Nash, leaving town.

"It's been a lot of long nights since the Finals. A lot has been said about what went wrong, but first you have to look at what you could have done to make the situation better. We feel we had every opportunity to get it done. You're up 2-0; Game 3 was the turning point in the series. To think that Miami would beat us four straight -- four straight -- you have to give them credit. They won the series," Terry said.

"But we've made tremendous steps in two years. We just got to the Finals and hopefully next year, with the nucleus that we have, we can go on and win it."

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics