LOS ANGELES • Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry has clinched a new five-year deal worth US$201 million (S$276.6 million), the richest contract in National Basketball Association (NBA) history.
The 29-year-old, who recently helped the Warriors to their second NBA Finals crown in three years, is the first player to break the US$200 million barrier, ESPN said, citing the player's agent Jeff Austin.
News of the agreement wipes away any uncertainty concerning the future of Curry, who had been on a four-year contract worth a relatively modest US$44 million.
Despite being one of the league's biggest stars, he had languished way down the pecking order of the NBA's best-paid players.
Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox
According to basketball-reference.com, he had been the 82nd best-paid player in the league, earning just over US$12.1 million last season.
That figure is dwarfed by the league's highest-earner, LeBron James, who stands to earn US$33.3 million next season and US$35.6 million in 2018-2019.
According to a survey of the world's best-paid athletes released earlier this month by Forbes, Curry had earned an additional US$35 million in endorsements to go alongside his salary.
Stephen Curry's new contract will make him the fourth-richest athlete in the world.
His new deal would make him the world's fourth-highest paid athlete - in terms of annual salary and winnings. Only Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo (US$58 million), Barcelona's Lionel Messi (US$53 million) and the National Football League's Andrew Luck (US$47 million) are ahead of him on Forbes' 2017 list.
Curry's existing contract had been agreed when there were still doubts about his long-term fitness, with the guard thought to have issues concerning the durability of his ankles.
However, those doubts have been obliterated during a series of dazzling seasons for the Warriors that have helped him become a four-time All-Star.
Meanwhile, with hours to spare before the start of the NBA's free agency period, the Oklahoma City Thunder engineered a blockbuster deal on Friday by acquiring forward Paul George from the Indiana Pacers.
The three-time All-Star, who had spent his seven-year career with the Pacers, will now form one of the league's more intriguing tandems alongside Russell Westbrook, the league's most valuable player, at Oklahoma City.
The deal, which was first reported by ESPN, was also a convenient way for the Thunder to bolster their case that Westbrook ought to re-sign with the team.
They were prepared to offer him a long-term extension early yesterday when free agency began.
George, who averaged 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season, had recently informed the Pacers that he intended to leave the team once he became a free agent next summer.
Rather than let the remaining year on his contract play out, the Pacers pursued a trade.
In exchange for George, the Thunder shipped Victor Oladipo, their starting shooting guard, and Domantas Sabonis, a 21-year-old power forward, to the Pacers, who, like many other teams around the league, are in full rebuild mode.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES