James Harden, Rockets Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

Apr 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) as a timeout is called against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter in game five of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden agreed to a new contract with the Houston Rockets on Saturday that will pay out $118 million through the 2020 season, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. The 2019-20 season on Harden's deal will be a player option, per Wojnarowski.

Mark Berman of Fox 26 captured video of the formal announcement:

Mark Berman @MarkBermanFox26

James Harden signs 4-year contract with the #Rockets https://t.co/HKcUVlVm4b

"I'm happy to be here for four more years," Harden said, per ESPN.com's Calvin Watkins. "This is home for me."

On Monday, the Rockets shared an open letter from Harden to Red Nation:

Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets

An open letter to Red Nation from @JHarden13: https://t.co/sZwDyoN5KV

The year-by-year pay scale in Harden's new deal is as follows, per Wojnarowski: $26.5 million for the 2016-17 season, $28.3 million in 2017-18, $30.4 million in 2018-19 and $32.7 million in 2019-20.

According to Spotrac, Harden was originally scheduled to earn base salaries of $16.8 million this coming season and $17.8 million the following year before his contract expired in the summer of 2018.

The move is a major win for the Rockets, who now have Harden under contract for the next three seasons. But as The Vertical's Bobby Marks explained, Harden would be wise to opt out of the contract before the 2019-20 season because of the earning power he will have accrued:

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

Key on the Harden renegotiation is the player option for 2019-20. Harden would become a Tier 3 max (10 YOS) player if he were to opt out.

With Harden in tow for the long haul, Houston can shift its attention toward title contention now that it has added Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson to go with Trevor Ariza on the wing.

"You're going to have to beat us, instead of us beating ourselves," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said Saturday, according to the Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith.

After punctuating a successful 2014-15 season with a trip to the Western Conference Finals, Harden and the Rockets fell flat last year to the tune of a 41-41 record and the Western Conference's No. 8 seed.

Harden, though, remained one of the league's most unique players during that turbulent stretch that was defined by imbalance in the locker room and turnover on the coaching staff.

When all was said and done, Harden joined LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average at least 29 points, seven assists and six rebounds per game over the course of an entire season.

With "seven seconds or less" guru Mike D'Antoni now running the show, the Rockets should be primed for a resurgent campaign.

"We have that underdog mindset," Harden said, per Smith. "... Starting this summer with training camp, we're going to be all in."

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Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.


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