• Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Rockets “plan to extend James Harden at the first opportunity.

    The hypothetical extension would be worth $168 million over the four years, while Harden is set to make $58.7 million over the next two seasons thanks to the extension he signed last summer. Of course, Harden has a player option after the 2018-19 season and can opt out to explore the free agent market. He can also open the door for Houston to offer a five-year, $217 million contract by waiting another year before agreeing to an extension. In other words, good luck getting him to pass up all that extra cash. The Rockets’ only real hope of making that happen is if they can convince Chris Paul or Paul George to sign long-term. They’ll meet with Paul in free agency while they’d have to trade George and persuade him to stick around. A second superstar talent should vault the Rockets in with the league’s serious title contenders and perhaps Harden would forgo the money for a shot at a ring. Unless either scenario plays out, expect him to maximize his earnings.

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