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James Harden signs four-year, $118 million contract extension to stay with Rockets

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 18: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets walks across the court during their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Toyota Center on March 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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Even when a player wants to stay with his current team, the CBA makes it generally better for them to become a free agent and re-sign with that team than to take a contract extension.

But the glut of cap space for the Rockets allowed them to set up a new four-year, $118 million deal that keeps James Harden as the core of the franchise that now wants to get out and run under coach Mike D’Antoni. Harden gets a raise this season and next on his existing contract — eating up some of the Rockets’ cap space — and then adds two seasons beyond that, with the final year being a player option. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports has the breakdown.

Harden talked about the extension at a press conference.

This is a good deal for the Rockets, who lock up their best player at what is now a slightly below market rate. It’s a good deal for Harden as he gains a little security and gets a nearly $10 million raise this season and next over the contract he was on (which was a max when he signed it).

If Harden shows up in shape this training camp, expect a big season from him. Like maybe leading the league in scoring (I’d bet on him or Russell Westbrook).

The Rockets have had a solid offseason, shifting the roster around to one that better fits what Mike D’Antoni wants to do. They are not a threat to Golden State — Houston will be a mess defensively — but they should take a step forward off last season, plus be entertaining. Which is an improvement.