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Sources: Rockets, James Harden agree to $228M super-max extension

James Harden and the Houston Rockets have agreed to a four-year extension, the team announced Saturday. The contract is a super-maximum extension that will guarantee him $228 million through the 2022-23 season, league sources told ESPN.

Harden, the runner-up for the NBA’s MVP this season, has two years and $59 million left on his current contract. The four-year extension carries a value of $170 million and is the richest extension in the NBA history.

The Rockets have fast-tracked the Harden extension with the arrival of All-Star guard Chris Paul, and are turning full attention to completing a deal with the New York Knicks to acquire eight-time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony in a trade, league sources said.

With the megadeal, Harden is taking advantage of brand new CBA rules that enable contract extensions for superstars. He became eligible to add four years to his deal after making the All-NBA team in May and the Rockets became focused on locking him into an extension after their season ended.

Part of the pitch was the Rockets’ activity this offseason, as they’ve been one of the most aggressive teams in the summer at adding talent and convincing Harden to give the organization a long-term commitment. Harden and the front office worked in tandem to recruit Paul in June, with Harden spending time with the star point guard and convincing him they could be successful on the floor together.

Harden closed the sale after Paul had a meeting with the LA Clippers two weeks ago and Paul informed the team he wanted to play for the Rockets. The Clippers and Rockets executed a trade for Paul the next day.

The Rockets followed that up with a series of trades that have allowed them to re-enter the transaction market. The Rockets have been in talks with the Knicks about Anthony, who has informed the Knicks he would waive his no-trade clause if a deal could be worked out with Houston, league sources told ESPN.

The team also landed defensive specialist PJ Tucker on a four-year, $32 million deal. Paul helped recruit Tucker to Houston as they two have been friends since their AAU days growing up in North Carolina.

Harden is coming off a career-best season in which he averaged 29.1 points, a league-best 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. He finished as the runner-up to Russell Westbrook in the Most Valuable Player voting.