New Houston Rocket, James Harden expects that he will sign a long-term deal with the Rockets prior to the season started. Harden’s inability to reach a long-term agreement with his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, is what led to his eventual trade to Houston. Oklahoma City reportedly offered Harden a deal with $55.5 million over 4 years. The deal was $4.5 million less than the max contract that Harden wanted.
The acquisition of Harden is just the latest in a long line of moves by the Rockets over the NBA‘s offseason. Houston cut or traded nearly every player on their team, including Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, Luis Scola, and Kyle Lowry. For Houston, the plan is to reach the playoffs this season, which have eluded them the past few years.
For Harden, the transition to a new team comes with an extra wrinkle, as he will likely be starting in the backcourt with Jeremy Lin. Harden only started 7 games in three years as a member of the Thunder, but was very productive coming off the bench, winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2012. ”It’s going to take some time,” Harden said. “Obviously, not starting and not having as much attention on me, but it’s going to take some time. I think I’m ready for it.”