'The money won't change me:' Harden returns to Valley to hold kids basketball camp

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James Harden takes on one of his campers at Inspire Courts in Gilbert. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) James Harden takes on one of his campers at Inspire Courts in Gilbert. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Less than a week after signing the richest contract extension in NBA history, former Sun Devils star James Harden was back in the Valley coaching up local kids. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Less than a week after signing the richest contract extension in NBA history, former Sun Devils star James Harden was back in the Valley coaching up local kids. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Less than a week after signing the richest contract extension in NBA history, former Sun Devils star James Harden was back in the Valley coaching up local kids.

"I know what these kids feel like, having a dream, wanting to play professional basketball,” said the 8-year NBA veteran.

"That's what I'm here for. It's only for a few days, but that's why I put the pressure on myself to go out there and try to touch every single kid and make them smile a little bit.”

News of Harden’s new contract has been the talk of the sports world. Harden seemed more interested at Inspire Court in Gilbert in talking about the Pro Camps program. 

“The money won’t change me,” said Harden, who’s contract extension will pay him $228 million. 

“Obviously it’s a credit to my work ethic, being in the gym, and the people I have around me. It doesn’t change anything. I’m here for these kids. I’m trying to be a positive role model for whoever I come in contact with.”

Harden spent the last week in Las Vegas, watching the Summer League and working out with his whole team. The Rockets acquired All-Star Chris Paul in the off-season in a blockbuster trade.

“We all know how smart he is,” said Harden.  “He sees things before they happen. When you got a guy on your team like that it makes you step up your game a lot more.”

The Rockets are now rumored to be making a run at Carmelo Anthony. 

“Obviously, Melo is one of the best players that we have in this league as well, but that's out of my hands,” said Harden. “I'll let the front office deal with that. If we can get him, obviously, that would help our team tremendously. But right now what he have in our locker room is pretty good.

Harden has been keeping a close eye on new ASU Coach Bobby Hurley’s program and has watched “a couple of practices.” 

The Valley will always have a special place in his heart. His contract has Harden in Houston through 2023.

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