Breaking Down James Harden’s Record-Setting Contract Extension With Rockets

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The Houston Rockets aren’t messing around when it comes to their future and superstar James Harden. Apparently, they’ve seen too many big names leave their previous teams in free agency, and now the Rockets are making sure that they keep Harden around and happy for as long as they possibly can.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets and Harden agreed to a contract extension that will be worth $228 million through the 2022-23 season.

With the deal now in place, let’s take a look at the full breakdown of the details inside of the contract and how it will wind up paying out.


Structure of James Harden’s Record-Setting Contract

For starters, it’s worth noting the exact numbers that will be handed out over the years from the time that the extension would begin, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported.

Essentially, he’ll be adding $162.9 million to his contract for the four years beginning in 2019-20. As Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press reported (via NBA.com), Harden will remain under contract on his existing deal for another two seasons. The apparent reasoning behind this is to allow the Rockets to pursue free agents during the summer of 2018.

So as seen above, the salary for Harden beginning in 2019-2020 will look as follows:

  • 2019-20: $37.8 million
  • 2020-21: $40.8 million
  • 2021-22: $43.8 million
  • 2022-23: $46.8 million

Harden also heaped praise on Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, per Kawczynski, speaking about the commitment that he’s shown to winning.

”Houston is home for me,” Harden said. ”Mr. Alexander has shown he is fully committed to winning and my teammates and I are going to keep putting in the work to get better and compete for the title.”

Harden also becomes the first player to sign under the new Designated Player Veteran Extension (DPVE), according to Marks.

Harden’s deal is not only record-breaking, but it comes not long after Stephen Curry’s supermax contract that was worth $201 million over five years earlier this offseason.

The numbers above that Harden will make beginning in the 2019-20 season are pretty amazing, and there were multiple stats that came out to show exactly how unbelievable the amount of money the star guard just signed for really is. For starters, SportsCenter tweeted out that Harden’s career earnings between now and 2023 will be more than money than every active player aside from Dirk Nowitzki has made in their whole career currently.

It’s almost a certainty that he’ll pass Nowitzki by the time his career comes to an end, as he’ll be a month shy of 34 years old by this time in 2023. And in one last stat to explain how much money the $46.8 million he’ll make in just the 2022-23 season is, ESPN’s Darren Rovell broke the number down to a game-by-game total.

Harden is fresh off by far the best season of his career and one of the best seasons ever by a player, as he averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. He’s averaged at least 25.9 points in every season since coming to the Rockets and has improved his average assists per game in every season since joining the team.

There’s no question that he’s among the NBA’s elite, and is now set to be paid unlike any player in the league ever has before.