The Houston Rockets have been watching teams in the Western Conference lose players to free agency for the past two seasons. The most notable being Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City to join the splash brothers in Oakland. With the Rockets trading for Chris Paul, the task was simple for Houston’s front office.
Sign James Harden.
The new contract keeps Harden in Houston until 2023 while he is raking in $47 million over the next six seasons. The contract guarantees him $228 million over the next six years and there are some mind-boggling stats associated with The Beard’s new contract. He is expected to earn a 2019-20 salary of $37.8 million. That annual salary increases each year to $40.8 million, $43.8 million and finishes at $46.8 million in the 2022-23 season The $228 million is more than several countries’ gross domestic product, and more than the United States held in 1792.
The contract does seem high right now but it is surely based on salary cap projections. If the league is not as successful as projected over the next few years, the guaranteed numbers could go down. No matter what this contract is crazy and it ultimately means one thing.
The Rockets are COMMITTED to Harden
The Rockets past regime was criticized for its analytical approach. The past GM Daryl Morey has taken the heat that his way of thinking would not turn into success because star players wouldn’t eventually get paid. Now, with owner Les Alexander becoming more expendable with his spending, they are able to keep their star while being flexible elsewhere. Alexander only had great things to say as the contract extension was announced:
“Since he arrived in Houston, James has exhibited the incredible work ethic, desire to win, and passion to be the best that has made him one of the most unique and talented superstars in the history of the game,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in the team’s statement. “Additionally, the commitment he has shown to our organization, the City of Houston, and Rockets fans all over the world makes him a perfect leader in our pursuit of another championship.”
James Harden is a transcendent type of player. The contract screams commitment from both sides, but ultimately it was the franchise giving the biggest commitment. With the contract keeping him there until he is 34, it shows they trust his health and longevity. His game and playing style is fit for a long-tenured career. He is known to get to the free throw line better than anyone in the NBA.
James Harden is making CASH
In 2015 Harden signed a $200 million dollar contract with Adidas. In 2016, he signed a $118 million dollar contract extension in 2016, and now add this to the list. It makes James Harden one very rich man. Now being one of the richest in the NBA with this new contract, it is crazy to this that this is the trend of NBA contracts.
It all seems great that James Harden is now locked down for the long-term, but critics would say that Harden is not a winner. No, he has not had the greatest playoff success. He has been to the Western Conference Finals and ran into a hot Steph Curry-led Warriors team. He had to deal with the loss of Dwight Howard and still took them to heights unimagined. When the team was just him, like last year, he had his best statistical season.
Adding Chris Paul to the mix will be a very key factor to Harden’s future progression. The pressure will be off Harden slightly, and he will be able to work off the ball again. This contract for James Harden is a nice change of pace from the way we have seen the big stars move on in the past. It shows the commitment to winning a championship on both sides from Houston and Harden. The front office went out and traded for a dominant scoring point guard to pair with a dominant two guard. This contract is just the start of supermaxiums that could be coming with the new CBA. Harden is taking full advantage of it.