James Harden will reportedly sign a five-year, $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets, less than a week after he reportedly turned down a four-year extension worth $52 million with the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to tweets this afternoon from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. As per the policy for all members of the 2009 NBA Draft Class, Harden has until 5 p.m. EST today to sign the deal or risk becoming a restricted free agent July 2013.
Harden, the 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, was traded to the Rockets Oct. 28 after three seasons in Oklahoma City. He averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 31 minutes per game last season for the Thunder. As the starting shooting guard for the Rockets, Harden will now share a backcourt with Jeremy Lin, who the Rockets acquired during the offseason from the New York Knicks. The Rockets have committed $50 million over three years for Lin and Turkish big man Omer Asik, the former Chicago Bulls center who signed with Houston this offseason, as well as the $80 million which will now be owed to Harden over the next five years.
The Rockets tip off their season tonight in Detroit against the Pistons.