While the NFL allows for more massive contracts like that of Patrick Mahomes, the closest one to it in the NBA belongs to the Houston Rockets’ James Harden.
While the near future of professional sports is still in question, that didn’t stop the Kansas City Chiefs from locking down their MVP on Monday in historic fashion. Patrick Mahomes’ $503 million extension spread out over 10 years became the largest contract in sports history. While NBA teams have less money to work with, the closest contract to Patrick’s belongs to none other than Houston Rockets superstar James Harden.
As fellow FanSided writer Gerald Bourguet recently dove into, the difference in salary caps and deal structures of the two leagues mean NBA teams can’t quite give their players deals as lucrative as those in the NFL.
As he points out, the NFL’s salary cap for the upcoming season will be $198.2 million and not have a luxury tax line while the NBA’s projected cap will be $115 million with a $141 million luxury tax line.
While guaranteed contracts can only be as long as five years, the Houston Rockets used a generous extension in July 2017 to lock down their superstar through the 2022-23 season.
A James Harden four-year extension would start in 2019-20 at a salary of $37.8M, $40.8M, $43.8M and $46.8M. https://t.co/zq5eLKrube
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 8, 2017
The Two Massive Contracts on the Houston Rockets
The extension Houston gave Harden assured him a bag of $228 million over the following six years, making it the richest deal in the history of the NBA. Given what he’s done for the organization and continues to do, James is obviously worth the contract.
According to Spotrac, James has an average salary of $42.8 million on his current contract, which is followed closely by fellow superstar Russell Westbrook at $41.4 million. The total value of Harden’s contract overall, however, is what makes his deal the closest to a Mahomes-like contract that the league has ever seen.
Provided the Houston Rockets can meet or exceed expectations this season, they should be in good shape with the tandem of Russ and James for the next three years.
If Clutch City fails to live up to its name again in these playoffs, however, I could see Daryl Morey making some drastic changes going forward as his patience for obtaining an NBA championship continues to wear thin.