The curious case of James Harden’s contract extension
Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden is sitting in a weird place right now. The bearded one was nothing short of remarkable during the regular season all-the-way-through the Western Conference finals.
Then in the NBA finals he crapped out. His game-changing performances never really rode through with the exception of a few runs here and there.
The Sixth-Man-Of-The-Year was not “money” and now the question becomes will the Thunder choose to break him off some…money?
During this off-season the time is arriving where Harden will become eligible to sign an extension to his rookie deal.
Harden is pretty confident that it will get done.
“They’ll do a pretty good job of working it out,” Harden said. “I’m focused on several other things right now. But when the time is (right), they’ll figure it out and it’ll be done.”
The only potential problem is affordability. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are locked in tight to nice deals.
What could harm Harden is his situation mirrors forward Serge Ibaka’s.
Neither is the perceived star of this group, but Harden is more of a luxury in that he’s a bench player that could be in the starting five on many teams.
Ibaka is easily viewed as more of a core member of this group and that is where Harden’s dilemma comes in.
“This team is like a family,” Harden said. “Like, we’re really brothers. We hang out most of the time every single day. You won’t find any other team like this. I love it here.”
“This is something special here,” Harden said. “A dynasty is being built here. So we’re winning, we’re having fun and we’re brothers. The other stuff, you can’t buy it.”
Harden like the fans and the local media wants to continue to rep that logo, but will he have to settle for far less dollars than what he would get elsewhere to continue to run with his brothers long-term?
He’s due almost $6 million dollars next season and from there he becomes a restricted free agent.
As the Thunder fight through getting a new deal done for HC Scott Brooks, there are obviously other matters that they will to deal with sooner than later.