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LJ signs on for Caps - at $330,000 a season

Lauren Jackson is one of Canberra's highest paid sportspeople after finalising a $1million deal to play in the WNBL for three of the next four seasons.

In the richest deal in the league's history, Jackson will return to the Canberra Capitals line-up for the 2012-13, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

The superstar was in the capital yesterday to end seven months of negotiations and announce she will end her career in the same city it began.

The 30-year-old was lured back to the Capitals after Canberra's business and basketball communities joined forces to put together the lucrative contract.

Although her earnings will be split over five years, she will effectively make about $333,000 for each season she plays.

The Canberra Raiders and ACT Brumbies high-profile players can earn upwards of $500,000 a year.


But Jackson's deal puts her level with or better off than the majority of players in the Raiders and Brumbies squads.

Jackson will not play for the Capitals this season, but her contract has already started.

Her earnings will be split over five years with the triple Olympian to earn substantially more money in the seasons she's on court with the Capitals.

Jackson last played for Canberra when she led the team to the 2009-10 WNBL title and was paid $220,000 to play the back half of the season.

''To be honest I can't wait to get that [Canberra] uniform back on again and play at home,'' Jackson said.

''I'm very territorial. I've always played for [WNBA side] Seattle, I've always played for Canberra here and this is where I want to finish.''

Jackson's return is sure to give the WNBL a welcome boost, similar to that being experienced by the NBL.

Portland star Patrick Mills has been a handy promotional tool for the men's league after signing with Melbourne Tigers because of the NBA lockout.

''Hopefully it will give the league a bit of a push,'' Jackson said.

''I'm sure it will, but I don't think it's going to be monumentally huge.''

The centre underwent hip surgery in June, and has also battled Achilles tendon, shin splint and back concerns in the past.

But Jackson is convinced her body is well placed to hold up until the end of her contract, when she will be almost 35. She will spend this season playing for Spanish outfit Ros Casares.

''I'm really confident, I think I have [had] my run of bad luck the last few years,'' she said.

''One of the good things about being here is the best doctors and sports physicians are at the AIS.

''They've definitely brought me back from many an injury stronger and better than ever, and everyone here know my body responds to everything.''

Capitals and Opals coach Carrie Graf said Jackson's decision to end her career in the less demanding WNBL was a smart one.

''She gets a lot of recovery time, there's not as many games [in the WNBL compared to Europe or WNBA], 22 games across five months,'' Graf said.

Although there is plenty of water to go under the bridge, Graf didn't rule out the possibility of Jackson playing on once the deal expired at the end of 2015-16.

''If her body's still going well and she has the passion for it, she could play some more,'' Graf said.

''It gives her a great focus, gives us a chance to build the program and take it to the next level, knowing we have her locked in for that period.''

Jackson also spoke of her desire to give something back to a game which has allowed her to become one of the world's highest paid female athletes.

''That's the fun stuff, getting out in the community and being a part of it, and playing overseas you don't get an opportunity to do that,'' she said.

''I want to be out there and promoting women in sport.''