Posted on July 9, 2017, by Travis Pulver
During his first eight seasons in the NBA, James Harden made over $88 million. So he may have already had all the calls and emails from those buddies he was super-tight with back in the day. He doesn’t remember them, of course, but when you become filthy rich, it’s incredible how many people suddenly remember you.
If he hasn’t already gone through that phase, he is about to now that the news has broken about his new record-breaking contract extension. It appears that the Houston Rockets want to make sure he sticks around for a few more years—and that he is happy to do so.
Houston has used the Designated Veteran Player Extension to offer Harden the richest contract extension in NBA history—four years, $169 million.
Changes in the CBA geared towards making it easier for teams to resign veteran players made it possible. Being named to the All-NBA team made him eligible for an extension, so the team decided to take the opportunity to reward their superstar player.
Harden still has two years left on his current contract (worth $59 million). So, technically, he is now under contract for the next six years and will earn $228 million. Here’s the best part—it’s guaranteed.
His actual salary will fluctuate according to the salary cap. But based off of current projections, he will make $37.8 million for the 2019-20 season, $40.8 million the following season, $43.8 million the next one, and finishes $46.8 million in the final year of the deal (2022-23 season).
He’ll make $28.3 million next season and $30.4 million in the final year of his current deal. Starting to feel like you may know him?
“Houston is home for me,” Harden said in a statement released by the Rockets (h/t ESPN). “[Owner Leslie 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.”
Some people will balk at the size of the extension because of Harden’s inability to play defense. But the Rockets are not paying him to stop guys from scoring. They want him to make this season’s numbers (29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds) the new norm.
With another superstar in town, Chris Paul, Harden’s stats will be a little different next season. Many have expressed concern over whether there will be enough basketballs to go around for Harden and Paul. There will be even fewer to go around if the team succeeds in pulling off a trade for Carmelo Anthony.
Sharing the ball appears to be the least of Paul’s concerns. Instead, he’s wondering if Harden wouldn’t mind sharing something else:
CONGRATS!!!! To hell with the ball, lemme hold some 💰 pic.twitter.com/i4M1iVzCID
— Chris Paul (@CP3) July 8, 2017
When the new extension expires following the 2022-23 season, Harden’s career earnings will have reached $318 million. Only Kobe Bryant ($323 million) and Kevin Garnett ($325 million) have earned more. But he’ll only be 33 years old and looking to sign another massive deal.
So, kids—if Dad suddenly buys you as basketball and a pair of hightops, now you know why.