James Harden Has Reportedly Inked Biggest Contract Extension in NBA History

James Harden has just signed a record-breaking contract with the Houston Rockets.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, the shooting guard has agreed to a four-year extension deal that will earn him $228 million through the 2022-23 season. 

Though the Rockets did not reveal the financial terms of the contract, officials did confirm the four-year extension.

“It's my pleasure to announce we've reached agreement with James Harden on a long term contract extension. Since he arrived in Houston, James has exhibited the incredible work ethic, desire to win, and passion to be the best that has made him one of the most unique and talented superstars in the history of the game,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, said in a press release. “Additionally, the commitment he has shown to our organization, the City of Houston, and Rockets fans all over the world makes him a perfect leader in our pursuit of another championship. I'm very happy for James, his mother Monja, and their family on this exciting day.”

The megadeal will start in the 2019-2020 season, starting with an annual salary of $37.8 million with an 8 percent increase each following year. The total value of the extension is $170 million.

Last summer, Harden signed a four-year extension with the Rockets that was reportedly worth $118 million. ESPN reports the NBA star was able to add four more years to his deal thanks to a new CBA rule that allowed extensions for “superstars.” (Harden became eligible after making the NBA All-Star team last season.)

Harden still has two years remaining and about $58 million owed in the original deal.

“Houston is home for me,” Harden said in a press release. “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.”

More from Complex

Nick Young Signs One-Year Deal With Warriors, Old Tweet of Him Bashing Their Fans Resurfaces

On Wednesday, Nick Young agreed to a one-year, $5.2 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The move will get Young incredibly close to capturing his first NBA title, but it will also unite him with the fanbase he bashed on Twitter last year. 

As for how Young will fare in Steve Kerr's pass-heavy offense, he's already given us a glimpse into his thoughts on running that type of gameplan in the past as well. 

Now, people are confused trying to understand how Young could go from hating Warriors fans to joining their team one year later.

Hopefully, time heals all wounds. 

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

More from Complex

Remember When Kevin Durant Ruined the Fourth of July?

When Kevin Durant signed a five-year, $86 million contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder on July 7, 2010, he did so without any of the pomp and circumstance that came along with the decision that LeBron James would make on The Decision just one day later. Unlike LeBron—who infamously sat down for a live TV interview with Jim Gray to discuss his decision to leave the Cavaliers in order to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Heat—KD didn’t make a big deal out of his announcement. He revealed that he would be staying put in OKC through at least the 2015-16 NBA season by sending out this simple, straightforward, no-frills tweet, spelling and grammatical errors and all:

And when The New York Times tracked KD down later that same day to ask him why he decided to go that route as opposed to broadcasting his decision in a more spectacular fashion, he seemed confused by the question. “What’s there to really talk about?” he said, before explaining why he was so low-key when it came time to tell the world that he was going to stay in OKC for another five years. “I just told everybody I wasn’t talking about it, really. I just kept it to myself. That’s just the type of person I am. I don’t like the attention around me.”

At the time, KD was applauded by many NBA fans and members of the media for using social media to announce his contract extension rather than dragging the process out like LeBron did. KD’s method was seen as a breath of fresh air at a time when the NBA free agency period was starting to turn into a much bigger storyline than it had been in the past, due to the sudden growth and popularity of social media. “Kevin Durant didn’t need a one-hour special on the World Wide Leader,” Darnell Mayberry, a writer for The Oklahoman, wrote at the time. “The Thunder’s star was satisfied with just 140 characters.”

But sometime between July 2010 when he signed his contract extension with the Thunder and July 2016 when he became a free agent, KD’s attitude towards free agency seemed to change. The NBA free agency period continued to become more and more of a circus every year, with NBA reporters like David Aldridge of NBA.com, Marc Stein of ESPN, and of course, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tracking the every move of NBA free agents the moment the clock struck midnight on July 1.

Players like Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, and LeBron—who became a free agent again in 2014 and announced his decision to return to the Cavaliers by penning a letter to the city of Cleveland in Sports Illustrated—took full advantage of it by meeting with as many teams as they could and hearing as many pitches from executives as possible once they became free agents. And as KD’s own free agency started to get closer and closer, he seemed to embrace the idea of going through the process just as players like Williams, Howard, and LeBron had.

By early 2016, there were reports about how KD wanted to be courted once he officially became a free agent. Much to the chagrin of all the Thunder fans out there, it didn’t sound like KD was going to announce that he was re-signing with the Thunder through another tweet. Rather, Yahoo Sports reporter Chris Mannix reported that KD was looking forward to being wined and dined by different NBA teams. Sources told Mannix KD’s free agency was going to be a much bigger production than it had been in 2010:

Durant is looking forward to being recruited, to being courted, to being treated like the biggest free-agent prize since LeBron James six years ago. The chances of Durant sending a simple tweet again announcing his return are virtually nonexistent, but the Thunder remain hopeful that his decision, regardless of how this season ends, is the same.

KD downplayed all of the various reports about him entertaining offers from other NBA teams during free agency throughout the 2015-16 NBA season. He said all the right things about the Thunder organization and his teammates, and he never really gave any indication that he was going to seriously consider leaving OKC once July 1 hit.

But by late June, it was clear that KD was going to, at the very least, listen to what other teams had to say. According to ESPN, KD’s representatives scheduled meetings with the Warriors, Spurs, Celtics, Heat, Clippers, and Thunder. Teams like the Knicks, Wizards, and Lakers reportedly tried to get time with KD, too. It seemed like it was exactly what KD was looking for, based on the earlier reports.

It was unclear how long it was going to take KD to make his final decision, though. He had so many meetings set up that it didn’t sound like he was going to get around to letting the world know where he would sign for at least a week once NBA free agency started. One Oklahoman report even suggested KD might hold off until July 9 to sign with a team, which would have meant nine days worth of speculation surrounding what he was ultimately going to do. But once free agency officially started, Wojnarowski revealed that July 4 looked like the day KD would make his announcement:

During the first few days of July, it was difficult to keep up with all of the KD news that was coming out. There were reports about how his initial meeting with the Thunder on July 1 “went well,” according to ESPN sources. But there were also reports about how a subsequent meeting with the Warriors went “very well,” which seemed to trump the earlier report about his OKC meeting:

There were other meetings with the teams listed above on July 2 and July 3, too. But after two days, it seemed like the Thunder and Warriors were leading the pack and had the best chances of signing KD to a deal. KD met with the Thunder for a second time on July 3 to conclude his scheduled free agency meetings:

And then, he stepped back from the process to weigh his options, with many reporters close to the situation—like ESPN’s Royce Young—reporting that he was close to picking either the Thunder or Warriors:

The stage was set for July 4 to be the day KD would announce his decision:

July 4 would end up being one of the most agonizing days in recent history for NBA fans, players, and reporters. When LeBron made his decision in 2010, there was a lot of hype surrounding it, but there was also a definitive day and time when everyone would be able to tune in and see which team LeBron was going to pick. The Decision would air at 9 p.m. on ESPN, and shortly thereafter, we would all know where LeBron was going to play the following season.

It wasn’t like that for KD. While most people suspected his decision was going to come down on July 4, KD himself hadn’t confirmed or denied the reports about it, and he also later admitted that when he woke up on July 4, he still hadn’t made a definitive decision as to which team he was going to sign with. So the world waited—and oddly enough, poked fun at KD’s old BlackPlanet page—while he mulled over the decision on the morning of July 4.

To KD’s credit, he didn’t keep us waiting for very long. At right around noon on July 4, KD took to Twitter for the second time in his NBA career to announce what he planned to do in free agency. But this time, it took more than 140 characters to get his message across. He tweeted out a link to a post he had written for The Players’ Tribune called “My Next Chapter”:

And in the post, KD shared some stunning news: He was leaving the Thunder to join the Warriors.

The news sent shock waves through the NBA community, and it ruined a lot of people’s Fourth of July. Thunder fans were obviously upset about the fact that KD was leaving the team, just six years after he had committed to OKC and told fans that he planned to stay there for a long, long time:

Other NBA fans were disappointed with KD’s decision as well. Many reacted to the news about KD signing with the Warriors by pointing out that there wouldn’t really even be a reason to play the 2016-17 NBA season since the result seemed like a foregone conclusion:

The words “Damn KD” started trending on Twitter:

And within just minutes of KD making his announcement, Stephen A. Smith was all over ESPN ripping him for it. He was one of many media members upset with the way KD’s free agency period ended:

NBA players also chimed in and seemed just as shocked as fans. It was surreal to see what some of them had to say:

In the end, not everyone had their days ruined. There were plenty of Warriors fans out there who were thrilled to hear about KD’s decision. Golden State was just a few weeks removed from blowing a 3-1 lead to lose to the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. So KD signing with the Warriors was exactly what they needed at the time.

But for most people outside of the Bay Area, July 4, 2016—a day that should have been all about beer, burgers, and fireworks—was anything but a celebration. It was a shocking jolt to the system that proved the NBA was about to change dramatically during the following season. It was also a disappointing end to what seemed like a fun free agency period for KD.

It was basically everything that July 7, 2010 wasn’t. Back then, KD was just looking to work out a deal with as little fanfare as possible. But by 2016, that had all changed—and there were so many people who resented and still resent KD for it. And they're not going to forget about it anytime soon.

More from Complex

Clippers Agree to Send Chris Paul to Rockets in Blockbuster Trade

Chris Paul is on his way to the Houston Rockets, according to a report from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, in a move that is expected to shake up the NBA's power structure.

Reports came down early Wednesday morning that Paul moving to the Rockets was a serious possibility. ESPN's Marc Stein said at the time that James Harden was part of the recruiting team for Houston, urging Paul to join up with him to take on other Western Conference powers.

Paul and Harden were “determined to play together,” so once it became clear that Paul was going to leave for Houston in free agency, he reportedly arranged for the Clippers to send him in a trade instead in order to leave Los Angeles with something in return. The Clippers will receive Rockets players Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, and a 2018 first-round pick from Houston.

Things aren't so great on LA's end of things, but this is as good of a return as you could hope for when a star player has informed you he could leave you with nothing. There are other dominoes to fall for the Clippers—Blake Griffin's free agency just got a whole lot more interesting—but they'll come out of a no-win situation with something, at least. In a post on his Twitter, Paul expressed his admiration for the Los Angeles community and thanked the fans for all their support during his time there.

Of course, the focus will be on Houston's end, and NBA Twitter was sent into hysterics with a single tweet, hardly knowing how to process Paul leaving L.A. to join up with Harden. Though some expressed concern about each player's preference to work with the ball in their hands, the general reaction was one of excitement about the possibilities.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Paul's offseason, the Rockets never seemed like a real threat to obtain his services. Early buzz revolved around Paul going to San Antonio, where he would have been the clear alpha dog in the Spurs' back court from day one. Now, he'll have to share that space with last year's MVP runner-up, who had transitioned to playing the de facto point guard role under Mike D'Antoni. There's also the question of whether Paul will buy into D'Antoni's offense, as his teams have traditionally played at a slower, more methodical pace at Paul's behest, while D'Antoni is all about running and gunning.  

But if the Rockets can get it to work, they might be one of the most exciting offensive teams to watch in the history of the league. Harden and Paul are ruthlessly efficient offensive players and more than capable as shooting threats off-the-ball, and if they come to an understanding about sharing the workload, there's no telling what their offensive ceiling is. 

For those of you wondering how Kevin Durant joining the Warriors might shift power around the league, you're looking at a direct product. Faced with an unstoppable juggernaut, players and teams are going to move heaven and earth just to give themselves a chance against Golden State. 

More from Complex

LeBron James to the Lakers? Yes, This Is a Rumor That’s Actually Going Around Right Now

From now until the time he retires, LeBron James' free agency decisions will be covered with the fervor of a presidential election or, say, an NBA prospect's loud-ass dad. This has been the case for a long time. Because of this well established fact—oh, and probably because the Cavs currently find themselves in a 3-0 Finals hole—rumors are seeping out about where LeBron will take his talents to next when he's a free agent in the summer of 2018 (yes, over a year from now).

Those rumors, which certainly won't be the last, have the current Cavs' star heading to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. The other rumor that came out on Thursday has him going to…oh, also L.A., but this time to the Clippers. Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer relayed the chatter, which has reportedly been floating around NBA circles. O'Connor also made reference to a nearly year-old Yahoo article from Adrian Wojnarowski that said there was a belief throughout the league that James wouldn't remain in Cleveland for the remainder of his career. 

If you keep up with your LBJ rumors, this shouldn't come as a total shock, unless you expect him to somehow convince Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade to come to Ohio.

O'Connor also talked about some comments Jalen Rose made on First Take this week, where he said he thought LeBron would eventually play in Cali because he has a house a half an hour away from the Staples Center (the same one that got vandalized):

After the completion of the 2017-18 season, LeBron will have a player option for the 2018-19 campaign worth $35.6 million.

But perhaps LeBron doesn't think Cleveland will stay competitive in the future. Or *clears throat loudly* perhaps he likes the attention. Or perhaps he's just sick of the narrative of “Why can't LeBron James win titles?!” even when everybody knows it's kind of a BS point because he's going up against a Finals opponent that's clearly superior.

It's up to you to decide how fact-based these statements are. That's kind of the thing with LeBron: everything about him becomes news.

Anyway, have fun going through this all over again, Cavs fans.

More from Complex