METAIRIE, Louisiana — The New Orleans Pelicans and 7-foot center Alexis Ajinca agreed on a four-year, $20.2 million extension on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Ajinca's new contract was confirmed by his agent, Mark Bartelstein, in an email to The Associated Press on the first full day of the NBA's 2015 free-agency period.
Ajinca, who is French, also posted notes on Twitter in both French and English which read, in part, "I'm very excited to say that I will be a Pelican for 4 more years! I'm so happy to be back home."
Ajinca was used last season primarily as a reserve. But when he received more minutes, he usually produced.
He reached double figures in scoring and rebounding on several occasions, pouring in as many as 24 points in a victory over Miami last season and grabbing as many as 14 rebounds in a loss at Philadelphia.
Ajinca, who began his NBA career with Charlotte during the 2008-09 campaign, has played in the NBA for parts of five seasons, including all of the past two with New Orleans. He appeared in 68 games last season, starting eight, and averaged a career-high 6.5 points along with 4.6 rebounds.
Ajinca's signing came less than 24 hours after New Orleans locked up All-Star power forward Anthony Davis with a five-year extension, the value of which is expected to exceed $140 million. The precise value of Davis' new contract cannot be determined until the NBA sets future salary caps and also will be affected by whether Davis is named an All-Star starter or to the All-NBA team.
Ajinca could see more action under new coach Alvin Gentry, who intends to increase the pace at which the Pelicans play. Ajinca's role also could depend in part on which other big men New Orleans is able to bring in. Fellow 7-footer Omer Asik, acquired by the Pelicans before last season, is a free agent. The Pelicans have expressed interest in bringing him back, but it remained unclear Wednesday afternoon whether that would happen.