OAKLAND, Calif. — Forward Mike Dunleavy signed a five-year, $44 million contract extension with the Golden State Warriors on Monday, hours before a deadline that would have made him a restricted free agent after the season.
Dunleavy, the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, started 79 games for the Warriors last season, averaging a career-best 13.4 points along with 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He is the sixth member of Golden State's promising young core to sign for at least the next four seasons.
Though he has developed slowly during three losing campaigns in Golden State, the club firmly believes the young forward has better days ahead — and he returned the feeling by turning down potential free agency.
"I think I'm coming along well," Dunleavy said. "I got off to a rocky start early on. There were a lot of expectations, and they already had a bunch of players at my position. Through that, I've persevered, and I'm well on my way. I'm pleased with where I'm at and where I'm headed."
Dunleavy was a reserve as a rookie, averaging just 5.7 points and playing sparingly for coach Eric Musselman. Dunleavy's average increased to 11.7 points in his second year while he started 69 games, but the forward's solid passing was offset by spotty defense and an inconsistent perimeter game.
He improved quickly and finished strong last season under new coach Mike Montgomery, with 48 percent shooting — 43 percent on 3-pointers — over the final 34 games.
CAVS EXERCISE OPTION ON PAVLOVIC: The Cleveland Cavaliers exercised the fourth-year contract option on former Jazzman Sasha Pavlovic on Monday, a move that will keep the swingman with the club through the 2006-'07 season.
Pavlovic averaged 4.8 points and 1.1 rebounds in 65 games last season for the Cavs, who traded a first-round draft pick to the Charlotte Bobcats for the 21-year-old on June 2004.
"Sasha is a talented young player," Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said. "With continued hard work, Sasha can play an important part in our team's future."
Pavlovic, from Serbia-Montenegro, was originally selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2003 draft by Utah and has averaged 4.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 144 career games.
T-WOLVES CUT FORMER 1ST ROUNDER: The Minnesota Timberwolves gave up on former first-round draft pick Ndudi Ebi, waiving the 21-year-old forward on Monday after acknowledging two years of work wasn't enough to prepare him for NBA competition.
Ebi's $803,600 salary for this season is guaranteed, but the Timberwolves saw little hope of him getting any playing time.
Minnesota also traded a future second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons for 6-foot-7 swingman Ronald Dupree, who averaged 3.2 points and 10.0 minutes over 47 games last season.
Coach Dwane Casey and his staff wanted another player capable of defending big shooting guards and small forwards, so they targeted Dupree — who went un-drafted out of Louisiana State and spent his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls.
WEST SIGNS TWO-YEAR EXTENSION: Jerry West signed a two-year contract extension Monday, and will remain through 2008 as the Memphis Grizzlies' president of basketball operations.
The Grizzlies lured West out of retirement and away from the Los Angeles Lakers on April 30, 2002. He was heading into the final year of his contract with the Grizzlies.
"I am thrilled to be able to stay on, and continue to build a winning franchise for Memphis," West said in a statement.
The Grizzlies went from winning 28 games to a franchise-record 50 victories in 2003-04 and the team's first playoff berth. That earned West the NBA's Executive of the Year award for the second time in his career.
Last season, the Grizzlies won 45 games and earned a second straight playoff spot.
HORNETS EXERCISE WEST'S OPTION: The New Orleans Hornets exercised their contract option on forward David West on Monday, and will have him through the end of the 2006-07 season.
West, the 18th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft, averaged 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 30 games for the Hornets last season. He missed 55 games after hurting his right knee in December.
"David had a frustrating year due to injuries last season, but he has shown great signs during training camp that he is back to where he needs to be," general manager Jeff Bower said.
BUTLER SIGNS EXTENSION WITH WIZARDS: Caron Butler signed a five-year contract extension with the Washington Wizards on Monday, a move of stability for a player who has been with three teams as he starts his fourth NBA season.
The 25-year-old swingman, acquired with Chucky Atkins in the offseason trade that sent Kwame Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers, would have become a restricted free agent at the end of the season had he not signed a deal before midnight Monday.
"It's a great place to play — and a great place to stay also," said Butler, who has bounced from Miami to the Lakers to the Wizards since the Heat made him the No. 10 overall pick in 2002. "I fit in here. The offense fits me."