Miami Hours before the regular season began, the Chicago Bulls already had something to celebrate.
Guard Kirk Hinrich and the Bulls agreed Tuesday on a five-year extension, the maximum length allowed under league rules. The deal, which kicks in at the start of next season, is believed to be worth about $47.5 million.
If Hinrich had not accepted the deal by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, he would have become a restricted free agent next summer and the Bulls would have had the opportunity to match any offer. Now, that angst-ridden process can safely be canceled.
"It's a dream come true, completely," Hinrich said. "To be with this organization, an organization that I grew up cheering for and was a big fan of and to be able to provide my family with security, it's just a great day. ... My parents used to scrap pennies to provide for me, and now I'm making almost $50 million playing basketball."
Bulls general manager John Paxson, in a statement released by the team, said Hinrich's "character and commitment" also made him worth keeping long-term.
"This is a very good day for the Chicago Bulls organization," Paxson said.
Hinrich's scoring numbers increased in each of his first three seasons with the Bulls, from 12.0 points per game as a rookie to 15.9 last season, when Chicago won 12 of its last 14 regular-season games.
In 234 games with the Bulls, all but 10 of them as a starter, Hinrich - who was drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft out of Kansas University - has averaged 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds.
As recently as Sunday, Hinrich said he didn't think the deal would get done in time.