James Harden Signs Extension with The Houston Rockets
On the heels of announcing the signings of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, sources confirm the Houston Rockets have agreed to terms on a 4-year/$118 Million contract with franchise cornerstone James Harden.
Sources on @TheVertical: All-Star James Harden has agreed to a 4-year, $118M contract renegotiation that takes him through 2020 in Houston.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 9, 2016
With Dwight Howard finally out of town, something Harden supposedly fought for all last season, the Rockets have made it clear who their guy is. Harden’s deal gradually increases in salary, with a player option in the fourth year worth $32.7 Million.
Since being traded to Houston from Oklahoma City, Harden has established himself as arguably the top offensive player in the league, consistently finishing near the top of the league in scoring average since 2012. Harden’s only knock is his penchant to take plays off on defense. Two years ago, when Harden was voted the Player’s MVP following Houston’s run to the Western Conference Finals, he proved his ability to be a viable defender, but this past season’s well-documented team struggles paved the way for his lackadaisical nature. The roller coaster ride filled with enlarged egos and plagued with injuries spelled trouble from the get-go, with the firing of Kevin McHale eleven games into the season the first domino to fall.
The Rockets, it seems, have begun to turn things around, starting with the hiring of Mike D’Antoni; letting Dwight Howard walk; and then signing Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Nene to multi-year deals. GM Daryl Morey and the Rockets brass have bought-in to Harden’s preferred style of play, surrounding him with pieces that will open the floor up for him to maneuver through. Also, having a team filled with players on multi-year deals will, theoretically, allow for a more cohesive unit that will understand that the player next to them will be there for the coming years. The Rockets were smart to lock up their star player and keep him happy, which in turn will hopefully make for a better season that sees a team with abundant “on-paper potential” start making headlines for the right reasons.