AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 1 (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons exercised their option to extend forward Jason Maxiell's contract through the 2008-09 season on Monday, and signed guard Gerald Fitch.

Maxiell, who was drafted with the 26th pick overall in 2005, is expected to play a key role in Detroit this season.

He played a career-high 67 games last season, averaging five points, nearly three rebounds and almost a block in 14 minutes a game. In the eight games he started, he averaged 8.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 26-plus minutes.

"Jason is a tough, physical player on the front line who continues to grow and mature within our system,'' Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said in a statement. "We look forward to the contributions he will bring this season and beyond.''

Fitch played in Europe last season after being cut by the Washington Wizards.

He played in 18 games for the Miami Heat during the 2005-06 season and averaged 4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 13.3 minutes.


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