James Harden expected to sign extension with Rockets before Wednesday deadline

James Harden, one of the newest Houston Rockets and the centerpiece of Saturday night's surprise blockbuster trade, is expected to sign a long-term deal with Houston before the regular season starts.

Harden was dealt Saturday night along with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward form the Thunder to the Rockets. Oklahoma City received Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and draft picks in return.

Harden is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, and told reporters that while he expects to get a deal done before Wednesday's deadline, that is not his primary concern.

"I'll let them figure that out with my agent," he said. "My focus right now is Houston and how I can make them better. ... I feel like I can help build it and bring my talents over here."

Harden also said, however, that he wants to play for the Rockets long term.

"Just to be secure," he said. "I feel like I'm in a great position with a great team and great young guys who are willing to work hard."

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reported that the Rockets can offer Harden a five-year deal worth around $80 million.

The Rockets open the regular season Wednesday night in Detroit against the Pistons.

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