If there was any doubt as to whether or not James Harden was in Houston for the long haul, it’s gone now.
Ryan Anderson signed a contact with the Houston Rockets that will pay him about $20 million per year for four years. James Harden was all set to make about $18 million per year for the next two seasons. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, however, had no intention of allowing anybody on his team to make more money than the Beard.
Harden signed a four-year contract extension worth $118 million, ensuring that the best and most important player on the Rockets would be paid as such. Now, to a mixed opinion of fans and analysts, he’s locked in with Houston until 2019 with a player option for the 2019-2020 season.
— James Harden (@JHarden13) July 9, 2016
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated reported on the contract extension for Harden, assessing the necessity for Houston to ensure that the Beard’s on board with the process of retooling around him over the next couple of years. While some experts question the motives of the Rockets’ front office, Golliver argues that the move was a wise one.
"The renegotiation gives everyone more time: D’Antoni can focus solely on the court this season, Rockets GM Daryl Morey doesn’t need to enter “panic mode” next summer in an attempt to appease Harden, and Harden himself need not worry about media distractions and speculation until after his age-29 season."
As previously stated, there was a mixed reaction to the Harden signing from personalities around the league. Bleacher Report’s Adam Wells put together a conglomeration of opinions via Twitter, from supportive to humorous, and threw in a video of Harden struggling to answer questions about his defensive abilities.
James Harden was asked about his defense and Leslie Alexander defends his star player pic.twitter.com/OIypliI0CV
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 9, 2016
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On a different note, one of the biggest questions surrounding the signings of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon is whether or not their injury history will affect their future contributions. According to John Reid of NOLA.com, Gordon described his previous injuries as “flukes,” stating that his plan is to suit up for all 82 games. The Rockets will be able to put a consistent three point threat like Gordon to good use all season if he’s correct in his assessment.
"“Most of them been fluke injuries,” Gordon said. ”From the first one where I just banged knees and this past year I was on my way to playing 82 games and then end up having a freakish breaking the finger (injury). They were little fluke injuries that I can easily overcome, but my plan every year 82 games plus more.”"
The Rockets now have just enough cap space to match any offers made to Donatas Motiejunas (as long as no team offers him much more money than he’s worth), showing once again that Daryl Morey knows his way around a financial statement.
It may seem like it was unnecessary to pay Harden so much money right now, but for a player whose primary struggle is motivation, a pay raise is the perfect incentive. That, combined with the fact that the renegotiation allows more time for a supporting cast to be assembled, makes the contract extension a dark horse contestant for the smartest move of the summer.
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