Aaron Brooks wants a contract extension. Not going to happen.


nba_brooks_250.jpgThe Houston Rockets really don’t do contract extensions. The last non-rookie deal contract extension they did was in 2004 (and that was for Tracy McGrady, which worked out so well).

Aaron Brooks — the breakthrough point guard and guy who just won the Most Improved Player award — thinks he should be the exception. This season he will make $2 million, less than half of his backup Kyle Lowry ($5.7 million). Brooks agent, Leon Rose, is supposed to meet with the Rockets today to talk extension.

Brooks is disappointed he doesn’t have a deal in place already, as Brooks told the Houston Chronicle.

“It’s kind of stressful,” Brooks said. “I was hoping we maybe could get something done this summer, but we couldn’t, so I’m stuck in the position I’m in.

“I understand, but it’s bothering me. It’s the business of basketball. You have to take it like it is. I’m stuck with that.”

Brooks is in the final year of his deal and can join a long list of Rockets in the same boat: Yao Ming, Shane Battier, Jared Jeffries and Chuck Hayes. And with a new CBA about to go into place, the Rockets will not be offering big extensions to anyone, according to general manager Daryl Morey.

“We’re not doing extensions,” Morey said. “Quite a few guys on the team are up for extensions. Just policy-wise, we’re not doing it.

“Obviously, every player would want an extension. I don’t blame them for that. All we can do is the best for the Rockets. They’re doing the best for themselves. Make sure they know the reason we’re doing it has nothing to do with how you value the player or anything like that. It’s just we’re trying to keep ourselves as flexible as possible going forward.”

NBA salaries are often not fair. It’s about the marketplace as much as the player’s talent, about the supply and demand at the position when you do sign a deal. Brooks will get more money. But not right now, not from the Rockets.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.