In news that is anything but shocking the Houston Rockets make it official signing James Harden to a 5-year, $80 million extension today, as first reported by Yahoo! Sports.
The Rockets acquired Harden in a blockbuster trade over the weekend with the Oklahoma City Thunder that sent Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and three draft picks to OKC. Houston also received Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward from the Thunder.
The trade was shocking initially but got done when it did so that Harden could sign this 5-year, max extension with the Rockets in which the deadline to do so was today.
The final dollar amount OKC offered Harden was a 4-year, $53 million deal that Harden and his agent turned down. With knowledge that Harden could get this $80 million max deal from Houston, a max deal with OKC for 4-years , $60 million would have been a sort of sacrifice for Harden.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey believes Harden can be a “foundational” player for this franchise and is very excited to get him. Morey also told Bill Simmons that he thinks Thunder GM Sam Presti pulled the trigger on this trade because he liked the deal he was getting from Houston so much.
Harden will turn a new page in his NBA career now. He is getting paid max money and with that will come max money expectations. He will start instead of come off the bench and have only Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to turn to when his shot isn’t falling.
Harden was said to be devastated that he was traded. He just never truly thought about what the reality of being traded from the Thunder might be like. He will have to accept it now.
Harden could have been Manu Ginobili, winning championships for the next decade with his buds in OKC but instead his future will probably more closely resemble Joe Johnson’s. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Harden will definitely have some regrets when it’s all said and done.