HEADLINE

Rockets G Harden plans to be in Houston ‘forever’

Sports Xchange

July 15, 2017 at 4:06 pm.

Houston Rockets superstar James Harden says he will be in Houston “forever” after officially signing the richest contract in NBA history.

Harden last week agreed to a four-year maximum contract extension that means he will make $228 million over the next six seasons through 2022-23.

“Sounds good,” a smiling Harden told reporters, per ESPN, when asked how it felt to own the league’s richest contract during a Saturday news conference. “But honestly, the only thing at this point of my career is winning, to get a championship.

“It’s cool. I’ve worked extremely hard. Thanks to (Rockets owner Leslie) Alexander for giving me that opportunity, but it doesn’t really mean anything without holding that championship up. That’s what we’re working toward. That’s why I’m in the gym every single day, and I won’t stop until I get it.”

The 27-year-old Harden, runner-up for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award last season, has two years and $59 million left on his current contract. The four-year extension carries a value of $169 million.

The Rockets traded for Harden in 2012 and built the franchise around him since then. He has been an All-Star in all five of his seasons in Houston.

“I know where home is,” Harden said. “I know where I want to be. I know where I want to retire ultimately and where I want to win a championship. Everything is going to happen here in Houston, and that’s the reason I’m here forever.”

The Rockets fast-tracked Harden’s extension with the arrival of nine-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul last month from the Los Angeles Clippers, and they are still trying to complete a deal with the New York Knicks for 10-time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony

“We would do more if we could,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said of Harden’s max extension. “This is the most they allow us to do. You work your whole career if you’re myself to get a player of James’ caliber and now Chris’ caliber. We’re excited. … We would have done longer and more money if we could.”

Harden is coming off a career-best season in which he averaged 29.1 points, a league-best 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Harden played a critical role in recruiting Paul to the Rockets that will pair two of the NBA’s premier playmakers in the backcourt in hopes of becoming an immediate championship contender.

“I don’t think anybody’s ever seen anything like this before,” Harden said of his partnership with Paul. “Two guys that can create and facilitate and do things with the ball that nobody’s done from the (point guard) and shooting guard position. It’s going to be fun.”