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June 18, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (13) and center Kendrick Perkins (5) during practice for game four of the 2012 NBA finals against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Kendrick Perkins: Oklahoma City Thunder close to signing James Harden to extension

Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Kendrick Perkins may have revealed some inside information today regarding James Harden and his contract extension situation.

“We’re getting close with James,” Perkins told Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. “And we’re getting close to keeping our unit together. Once James gets here, it’s nothing to be said. He’ll see his family and that’s all he needs. So once he sees everybody’s faces, that’s enough said.”

It seems Perkins knows something here and he is extremely confident in Harden staying with the Thunder. There has been a lot of talk surrounding Harden and his contract this week after Thunder GM Sam Presti expressed in a press conference on Monday that it wasn’t going to be easy to keep Harden.

That sparked a lot of speculation that possibly the Thunder would be unable to extend Harden. The deadline to do so is Oct. 31.

The irony of Perkins saying this and being so optimistic about it is that he would almost definitely be amnestied by the Thunder after next season if Harden signs an extension. Perkins is set to make $8.5 million in 2013-14 and $9.1 million in 2014-15. The Thunder will surely be in the luxury tax by then if they extend Harden and amnestying Perk would save the franchise a ton of money.

Perkins’ value may be more evident than ever this coming season though with the Los Angeles Lakers acquiring Dwight Howard, whom Perkins is known for defending one-on-one as well as anyone in the league. If it comes down to it though, it’s hard to imagine the Thunder paying severe luxury tax penalties to keep Perkins for that price.

Perkins doesn’t see himself going anywhere though.

For Thunder fans though, let’s hope Perkins is on to something with these comments. It’s just no fun anymore speculating about Harden potentially not being a part of this franchise down the road.

Click here for full audio of Perkins’ interview via Daily Thunder.

Tags: James Harden Kendrick Perkins Oklahoma City Thunder

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