LAS VEGAS — James Harden has signed a four-year max extension with the Houston Rockets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst report.
The deal is projected to be worth $228 million, per ESPN, and will run from the 2019-20 season through 2022-23. Dollar amounts are subject to adjustment depending on what the salary cap ends up being in 2019.
Harden’s deal is what’s being commonly referred to as the “supermax.” There are three types of maximum deals players can sign, each dependent on how long a player has been in the NBA. Players in the league for fewer than seven years can sign for as much as 25 percent of the cap in year one. Seven-to-nine year veterans can sign for as much as 30 percent of the cap. Players in the NBA for 10-plus years can sign for 35 percent, AKA the supermax.
Even though Harden signed an extension last summer, he was eligible to extend again under the same rule that makes Russell Westbrook eligible for an extension this offseason. Westbrook can sign what’s colloquially being referred to as the “designated player exception” at any point, inking with the Oklahoma City Thunder for five more years beyond this one.
The Thunder offered him the deal the first day of free agency. He is yet to sign it, something worth monitoring for the rest of the offseason and beyond.
• Leaving it blank: The Thunder have one spot left on their roster once accounting for still unsigned 2017 first-round pick Terrance Ferguson. And though they could bring in a 15th player, such as longtime Thunder veteran and current free agent Nick Collison, it’s no guarantee they sign anyone to fill out the roster.
With G-League players now able to sign two-way contracts, which allow NBA affiliates to send them back and forth between leagues regularly, a new trend could start: Teams may employ only 14 players. Players on two-way contracts don’t take up a roster spot and don’t count against the luxury tax or salary cap. They can be on the roster for up to 45 days each and make less money than NBA players.
It’s a cheaper option. And it may be just as viable as signing someone to be a faux contributor.