The biggest question surrounding the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason is whether they’ll extend James Harden.
Harden is getting most of the attention as he is coming off a career year in which he averaged 16.8 points per game, won the Sixth Man of the Year award and was selected to represent the United States in the 2012 London Olympics.
“I’m pretty, a hundred percent, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be in Oklahoma City,” Harden said with a slight stutter. “I’ll let my agent and Mr. Presti and [Thunder owner Clay] Bennett discuss all that, so I’ll let them handle that and stay out of it for right now and worry about the USA Olympics.”
When asked if he was at all enamored with the idea of being a more featured player elsewhere, Harden said, “I love winning. We have some great guys over here, something special, something I don’t think any other team in the NBA has – young guys who got drafted basically together, year after year after year. We’ve got something special, so I’m focused on what we have and trying to win a championship with these guys.”
Harden has had this view ever since the season ended and it bodes well for Thunder fans. He wants to stay in OKC and hopefully that is enough to convince him to stay.
The problem is that Harden would be worthy of a max-contract next summer if he becomes a restricted free agent. He would most definitely receive an offer sheet similar to what Eric Gordon received this summer, worth four years, $58 million.
That kind of cash would be tough for the Thunder to match and they’d prefer to keep him at a little under that mark and extend him soon.
There hasn’t been any recent development with Harden’s extension since he is currently in London playing for Team USA. The Olympics will end this Sunday and after that, the Thunder organization may look to move forward with getting Harden locked up.
“I’m positive that it’ll happen,” Kevin Durant told Amick. “Like you say, you never know in this league. You never know. All I can do is hope for the best, but James wants to be here. We want him here, and Serge the same way. So we’ll see. I don’t have anything to do with it. I just play ball.”