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Report: James Harden agrees to 5-year, $80 million deal with Houston

Oct 31, 2012, 3:34 PM EDT

James Harden

A difference over dollars was the entire reason that the Thunder traded James Harden to the Rockets, so the news is no surprise, but it has now been confirmed.

Harden has agreed to a full max contract extension with the Rockets, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The deal is for five years and $80 million, and is expected to be signed shortly.

Harden was traded to Houston after he and the Thunder couldn’t come to terms on this very extension. Harden wanted the max, and knew he’d get it on the open market next summer if Oklahoma City was unwilling to pay it, so that was his end game in the negotiation process.

The Thunder wanted Harden to sacrifice a few million to keep the core of the team together, one that is among the youngest and most talented in the league, and made it to the NBA Finals just last season. But Harden wanted the money — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

He has it now in Houston, along with a chance to not only crack the starting lineup, but to be the face of the franchise for the forseeable immediate future.

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