May 18, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) speaks with guard James Harden (13) against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of game three of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Kevin Durant: James Harden won’t become a free agent

The Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden are trying to agree on a contract extension this summer. Harden has one year left on his contract and if he doesn’t sign an extension he could become a restricted free agent next summer.

Kevin Durant doesn’t think Harden will have to test free agency.

“He not hittin the market,” Durant said in a Tweet response to Nate Jones of Goodwin Sports Management, according to RealGM.

The Thunder are committed to Durant and Russell Westbrook through 2016 paying them max-deals. Harden could possibly receive a max offer from another team if he became a free agent next summer and it would be difficult for the Thunder to match that type of offer.

The Thunder are doing their best to lock up Harden and Serge Ibaka this summer to avoid allowing the rest of the league to determine their values.

When you really look at the numbers, it seems near impossible for the Thunder to extend Harden and Ibaka and avoid the increasingly harsh penalties of the luxury tax.

Harden especially would have to sacrifice a lot of money for the Thunder to reasonably extend him this summer. Harden spoke about sacrifice at the end of the season. Harden also said that he expects to come to an agreement on a deal this summer.

Durant is probably right about this. The Thunder will find a way to extend Harden first above anything else. Maybe it will mean extending Ibaka will have to wait but it really would be hard to imagine Harden and the Thunder not reaching an agreement soon.

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