You might just say that Houston Rockets guard James Harden had a better than average Wednesday this week. He had a very pleasant afternoon according to the “Houston Chronicle,” when the Rockets and he signed off on a five-year contract extension, that could earn him as much as $80 million. He then spent the evening at the Palace of Auburn Hills, racking up a double-double including 37 points and 12 assists, as he led Houston past their hosts the Detroit Pistons to open the campaign with a victory, by the final tally of 105-96.
Wednesday, was the final day teams could sign players to contract extensions, rather than risk them testing the waters as a restricted Free Agent. Harden and his agent spent the off-season trying to negotiate a max-deal with his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the Thunder concluded they could not work out a deal with last season’s NBA Sixth Man Award Winner, they put together a multi-player and draft pick package to send Harden to Houston.
The 80-Million-Man, has gone from being at best a third option with his old club, to the straw that stirs the drink in Houston. Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey, however, wanted the deal consummated before the campaign stated, as it would ease concerns from the franchise and the player in place Houston General Manager Daryl Morey, told reporters he wanted the deal in place, so that the team knows for sure where they are heading.
Morey told members of the Media on Wednesday, that he really wanted this deal done before the deadline for a myriad of reasons He told reporters he wanted Harden to respect the Organization; by showing Harden their new star, respect in return.
Morey at a meeting with the media before the game said “Given our goals the past few years to get a guy to build around and the stops and starts towards that, until it’s signed and done, you’re always nervous until it finalizes. There’s relief on all sides. Obviously we’re up against the (Wednesday) deadline and signing him right before the game. We felt pretty comfortable he was going to be here long-term one way or another, either today or we would have finalized it after the season,”
It remains to be seen whether the Rockets, can consistently play like this on a regular basis and if Harden can be the man to build their squad around.