James Harden signs four-year, $118 million contract extension to stay with Rockets

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Even when a player wants to stay with his current team, the CBA makes it generally better for them to become a free agent and re-sign with that team than to take a contract extension.

But the glut of cap space for the Rockets allowed them to set up a new four-year, $118 million deal that keeps James Harden as the core of the franchise that now wants to get out and run under coach Mike D’Antoni. Harden gets a raise this season and next on his existing contract — eating up some of the Rockets’ cap space — and then adds two seasons beyond that, with the final year being a player option. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports has the breakdown.

Harden talked about the extension at a press conference.

This is a good deal for the Rockets, who lock up their best player at what is now a slightly below market rate. It’s a good deal for Harden as he gains a little security and gets a nearly $10 million raise this season and next over the contract he was on (which was a max when he signed it).

If Harden shows up in shape this training camp, expect a big season from him. Like maybe leading the league in scoring (I’d bet on him or Russell Westbrook).

The Rockets have had a solid offseason, shifting the roster around to one that better fits what Mike D’Antoni wants to do. They are not a threat to Golden State — Houston will be a mess defensively — but they should take a step forward off last season, plus be entertaining. Which is an improvement.