The contract extension talks that extended longer than some suspected they would finally have come to a conclusion.
The Jazz and point guard Deron Williams will formalize a multiyear extension guaranteed to be worth about $50 million over three years, and potentially worth nearly $70 million if a fourth-year player option is exercised with a news conference this afternoon.
"There's going to be a great announcement ... in Salt Lake City," Williams' Houston-based agent, Bob McClaren, said via cell phone Thursday afternoon. "One that will make everyone happy, I think."
Later Thursday, the Jazz called a press conference for 2 p.m. today regarding Williams, who according to an e-mail from the team "has agreed in principle" to the extension.
The paperwork was not actually signed as of Thursday and the two sides were "still kind of wrapping up the details," McClaren said, but that is expected to be completed by this afternoon.
Williams who leaves this weekend for Las Vegas, where he will join Team USA in preparation for next month's Summer Olympics in Beijing very much wanted to get the extension done by today. The No. 3 overall selection from the 2005 NBA Draft took part in the Jazz's Rocky Mountain Revue summer-league practice Thursday morning, but would not speak at length with reporters, saying only, "See y'all tomorrow."
Terms were not released by either side, and Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor declined to comment when reached late Thursday afternoon.
McClaren also declined to divulge details of the agreement, but did say, "It's a big commitment from both sides and a continuation of a great partnership."
According to a source with knowledge of the deal, the extension matches that agreed to on July 4 by point guard Chris Paul, the No. 4 overall pick in Williams' draft, and the New Orleans Hornets: three years guaranteed, max money, with a fourth-year player option.
That came shortly after the NBA's negotiating period opened July 1.
Talks with Williams took much longer, partly because Williams took a family vacation to Mexico earlier this month.
Williams already is under contract for next season at $5,069,449.
The extension will kick in beginning with the 2009-10 season and would run through the 2012-13 season if the extra-year option is exercised.
A max-money contract, based on a projected $60 million team payroll salary cap for 2009-10, would start at $15 million per season for Williams 25 percent of the cap, the most allowed based on his years of NBA service and would come with incremental 10.5 percent pay raises each year.
The exact cap number for that season won't be known until next summer, however, leaving the exact amount of Williams' salary still to be determined.
Williams could have signed a full five-year extension worth about $90 million, which the Jazz were hoping he would have done. By taking the shorter deal, though, the University of Illinois product makes himself eligible for a new six-year contract in 2012 that could be worth 30 percent of the cap and well in excess of $100 million.
It also does not tie Williams too long term to a team with questions of uncertainty in summers to come, including the possibility of both All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer and starting center Mehmet Okur opting out of their current contracts in the 2009 offseason. Moreover, it remains to be seen how long 20-season head coach Jerry Sloan will continue to work and how the health of ailing owner Larry H. Miller impacts the franchise.
Miller has been hospitalized for more than five weeks due to complications from type 2 diabetes and on Wednesday promoted his 42-year-old son, Greg Miller, to chief executive officer of his business empire, but was kept up to date on the status of negotiations with Williams' camp throughout the month.
For now, though, Williams is focused on the immediate future."We really do think the best is yet to come for the team and Deron," McClaren said of the club, which Williams helped lead to the NBA Western Conference finals in 2007 and to the conference semifinals earlier this year. "It should be fun for the next several years."