James Harden now has the largest overall contract in N.B.A. history. The Houston Rockets reached agreement with Harden on Saturday for a four-year extension worth about $160 million, giving him a total deal of six years for a guaranteed $228 million.
With Harden under contract on his existing deal for another two seasons, the extension will not affect Houston’s aggressive pursuit of free agents this summer as the Rockets try to catch up to the Golden State Warriors, the league champions. The Warriors recently gave Stephen Curry a five-year, $201 million contract, which was the largest overall figure in the league’s history.
“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,” -the Rockets owner, Leslie Alexander, said in a statement issued by the team.
“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.”- he added
Harden, 27, is coming off his finest season. After moving to point guard for the Rockets’ new coach, Mike D’Antoni, Harden averaged 29.1 points, a league-leading 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds and finished second in the race for the Most Valuable Player Award to Russell Westbrook, Harden’s former Oklahoma City teammate.
Harden helped the Rockets bounce back from a disappointing 2015-16 season that collapsed under the weight of chemistry issues between Harden and the big man Dwight Howard. With Howard gone, the Rockets put Harden at the center of everything they do on offense, and it paid off.