The Rockets signed James Harden to a contract extension last year, which would usually preclude him from signing another extension this year. But the new Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a special provision for him and Russell Westbrook.
Houston apparently hopes to take advantage.
For the second consecutive season, the Rockets intend to offer Harden a contract extension long before he could hit free agency, a person will knowledge of the team’s plans said Tuesday. The individual spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team’s intentions have not been made public.
The Rockets “plan to extend James Harden at the first opportunity,” the individual said. “That is the plan.”
Harden is locked up for the next two years, at $28,299,399 and $30,421,854. An extension would kick in in 2019.
It could be worth a projected max of $168 million over four years. (The exact total wouldn’t be determined until 2019.) Presumably, the Rockets would give him the max. He’s their unquestioned franchise player, and they have treated him as such.
Houston and Harden could wait another year – again, he can’t become a free agent until 2019 – and sign an extension next year. Then, it could be for five years worth a projected max of $217 million. It’d have the same structure over the first four years as the extension he could sign this summer. It’d just have a fifth season tacked on (with a projected $49 million salary).
There’s plenty to weigh – security vs. flexibility. But the Rockets are going to give Harden the option of locking in again.