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James Harden Releases Letter to Rockets Fans After Signing Contract Extension

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2016

Apr 21, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) points up after a play during the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden agreed to a four-year, $118 million contract renegotiation with the Houston Rockets on Saturday, and the star shooting guard took time to pen a letter to the fanbase and express his excitement with the direction in which the franchise is headed.

On Monday, the team's official Twitter account posted the heartfelt message: 

Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets

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

While the Rockets may not have assembled a superteam, as Harden admitted, they have the potential to wield one of the NBA's most potent offenses a year after ranking seventh in efficiency on that end of the floor.

Beyond Harden, who's averaged at least 25 points per game in every season since arriving in Houston, the Rockets boast Trevor Ariza and Patrick Beverley as well as a pair of strong free-agent signees in former New Orleans Pelicans studs Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. 

Houston Rockets' Projected 2016-17 Rotation (as of July 11)
PGSGSFPFC
Patrick BeverleyJames HardenTrevor ArizaRyan AndersonClint Capela
----Eric GordonCorey BrewerMontrezl HarrellNene
--------K.J. McDanielsMichael Beasley
--------Sam Dekker--------
Source: Rotoworld.com

That may not be a title-caliber unit yet, but it could be the makings of one in a few years if the team develops chemistry alongside its bearded leader—who was the only player in the NBA to average at least 29 points, seven assists and six rebounds per game last season.

"We're going to build it and build it until we get it," Harden said at a press conference Saturday, according to the Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith.

Harden also noted he used Houston's rocky 2015-16 season as a learning experience that will help shape his leadership style in the years to come.

"Leaders aren't built when things are going extremely well," he said, per Smith. "So I had to learn from it. I had to figure out, how can I be better individually? How can I grasp my team and bring us a lot closer? … I've learned so much."

Competing for supremacy in a top-heavy Western Conference won't be easy, but if Harden and Co. can steadily rise up the standings and develop a positive culture thanks to The Beard's reformed approach, plenty of prosperity could be in the team's future. 

         

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

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