James Harden and the Houston Rockets have come to terms on a contract extension, according to ESPN. The organization was holding a news conference to introduce Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon as the two newest members of the team, when it was revealed that Harden signed a contract extension with the Rockets on July 9.
Harden’s new deal is reportedly worth $118 million over four years. James Harden’s previous contract was not up until 2018, but the team felt they needed to lock him up for the long-term, rather than take a chance he would leave after the 2017-18 season.
The Rockets lost out on re-signing free agent center Dwight Howard, as he accepted a three-year, $70.5 million deal to join the Atlanta Hawks, as detailed by the Inquisitr. The team tried to lure big man Al Horford from Atlanta, per RealGM, but he is heading to Boston to play for the Celtics.
After failing to keep Howard and missing out on Horford, the Rockets turned their attention to sweet-shooting Ryan Anderson and dynamic guard Eric Gordon. Anderson received a four-year, $80 million contract from Houston, while the Rockets gave Gordon $53 million over four years.
In order to fill their need for a big man to replace Howard, the Rockets were able to sign a veteran center, Nene, to a bargain contract; a one-year deal worth $2.9 million, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.
With the roster now taking shape, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and his management team decided to extend James Harden’s contract by two years — and give him a raise in the process.
“He’ll be around here for a while,” Alexander said. “I don’t think people appreciate how great he is, but we certainly do.”
Harden is excited to remain a member of the Houston Rockets, and looks forward to being with the franchise for years to come.
“Ever since I stepped foot in Houston, there’s been nothing but love and support from Les and (general manager) Daryl Morey and the front office. It’s truly like a home to me. I’m happy to be here another four years and a lot of great things are going to happen. It’s been progress, it’s been a buildup and the addition of our new signings and a couple of other pieces, some really good things are going to happen next year.”
James Harden’s career began in 2009 when he was Oklahoma City’s first-round pick in the NBA Draft, No. 3 overall out of Arizona State University. Harden struggled a bit in his early years with the Thunder, but he, and the team as a whole, eventually began to blossom. People around the league were starting to realize that Harden was capable of being a No. 1 scoring option, but with players like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, he would likely never play that role for the Thunder.
In 2012, James Harden was part of a trade that sent him to the Houston Rockets. Harden immediately took the reins of Houston’s offense, becoming an explosive scorer and a fine all-around performer.
Harden has been an NBA All-Star all four seasons he has been with the Rockets, and is coming off a stellar campaign in which he averaged 29 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game.
Ryan Anderson is going into his ninth NBA season, having averaged 17 points and six rebounds per contest last year with New Orleans. He is known as an outstanding shooter, having hit 38 percent of his career three-point attempts.
Eric Gordon is a talented, but injury-prone guard. Despite a career scoring average of 16.6 points per game, Gordon hasn’t played a full season in the NBA since 2008-09, his rookie year.
James Harden signing a new contract with the Rockets will keep him in Houston for the next four years. With that, and the additions the team has made, do you think Houston will be a title contender in the near future?
[Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]