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Report: James Harden nowhere near new deal with Thunder

Sep 13, 2012, 3:58 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder James Harden durin Getty Images

And the spin goes right round, baby, right round, like a record baby, right round round round round…..

Yesterday, Kendrick Perkins opined that once James Harden gets into Oklahoma City training camp the issue of his contract extension would work itself out because he was back with his family and wouldn’t want to leave. Some took that as Perkins having insight into the negotiations, when the reality was that was just Perkins saying what he thought would happen through his team-centric view.

But the people whose job it is to make sure that Harden gets paid — and gets paid the max — couldn’t let that stand. So now we have this leak via Chris Broussard of ESPN on twitter.

Despite what KPerk says OKC & JHarden not close to deal. Sides are talking. JH wants to stay but wants max. Let’s see if OKC blinks b4 10/31

This is not a rocket science negotiation, folks. The Thunder are trying to talk Harden into taking a little less money so they can save tax dollars, but he’s not buying it and wants a max deal (four years, $58 million). If the Thunder do not offer him that deal before the Oct. 31 deadline, he will be a restricted free agent next summer and some other team will come in and offer him a max deal. Then the Thunder will be able to match it or not (although those deals could have poison pills making it worse for Thunder). Harden wants to stay but he wants his money and the ball is ultimately in the Thunder’s court.

As I keep saying, the Thunder have known the price tag for Harden since before they inked Serge Ibaka’s new deal. They can pay it now or they can wait and pay it next summer if they want to keep him (which they do). They have known the luxury tax implications for a while. We’re going to get a lot of spin and people talking back and forth about it, but the mechanics are pretty straightforward. It’s just a matter of what decision the Thunder make and when.

  1. papichulo55 - Sep 13, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Now we will see first-hand the economic realities of small markets in the NBA. Who is gonna be the person to make a salary concession to keep the team together? My money is on nobody making that move. Rose could afford to, while KD will not. Nothing against KD, he deserves every penny of his contract. Even with the commercial and upcoming movie, he is not earning what he could in a major market. Rose’s $25 million per year from Adidas would put him in or near the top ten in yearly income for US actors, per Forbes. KD aint gettin paid like that for his movie and commercials, and he should be. Not hatin small-markets, but the NBA business is what it is.

    • therealhtj - Sep 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      Rose took a full max, 30% of the cap deal exclusive to players of his caliber. He’ll be on that contract for 5 more years. If his body holds up long enough for another max extension, I don’t see him taking a penny less than max then either.

  2. lakerluver - Sep 13, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    It’s simple, OKC has to max him or lose him.

  3. ndamus4 - Sep 13, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Harden is a good player. He is not however a Max caliber player. To get a max deal you at least have to be a starter. He also disappeared in the finals all but one game.

    • lakerdownunder - Sep 13, 2012 at 7:57 PM

      I totally agree. How can you have a max contract coming off the bench???

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:22 PM

      …If you honestly don’t believe someone will offer him a max contract as a restricted free agent, you don’t understand the NBA.

      He provides floor spacing (39% from 3’s, better than Durant), ball-handling/playmaking, and is a solid (though not elite defender), and won 6th Man of the Year.

      Nobody doubts he could score more if he were a starter, and couple that with his youth (only 23 years old) and fame, a huge number of teams would love to have him, even at a max deal. There was an article yesterday that said Mark Cuban of the Mavericks would be happy to offer him a max contract, and he won’t be the only one (I’m guessing Phoenix as well).

  4. lakerluver - Sep 13, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    ^^ I agree. I don’t think JH is a max player either. He does have max potential though. As for the previous dude comparing him to D. Rose, there is no comparison. Rose without question is a max player.

  5. papichulo55 - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Sorry for the confusion. Not comparing Harden to Rose. Comparing the ability/willingness of teammates to redo contracts/take less to help with the cap. Miami guys did it because they could afford to. Reduced salary for LBJ or Rose would not be as big a percentage of their total compensation as it would be for Durant or Westbrook. Big market stars make more off-the-court cash and are probably more willing and able sacrafice some cap-related income. Maybe the league should factor in the off-the-court income in deciding cap limits. Then small-markets could pay more in salary, without paying taxes. Higher taxes for big market teams.

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      Good in theory, impractical in practice.

      Marketing opportunities are better playing for the New York Knicks than playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, yet LeBron was earning way more than anybody on the Knicks from advertising/endorsements back when he was a Cavalier/”small market player.”

      There’s no way to incorporate “marketing potential” into a salary cap. Not everybody on the Knicks gets advertising deals with Nike.

    • colorfaded - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:13 AM

      Kevin Durant has a $60M contract with a $10M signing bonus with Nike, not to mention he turned down a contract with Adidas worth $70M with a $12M bonus. He already said he would redo his contact if he could but they can only do that if they make it longer which he can’t because he’s already at the max, 5 years.

      • colorfaded - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:15 AM


  6. papichulo55 - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    @eventhorizon04 – Agreed. The league would never agree to regressive taxes. Just a thought. I really think that keeping OKC together is good for the League for the next few years. They would be the perfect foils fo Miami and the Lakers. Old vs Young, Big Market vs Small Market, Bashful vs Braggadocio..and if you stretch it a little, Good vs Evil, lol…

  7. glink123 - Sep 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Can’t believe you used “Sixth Man of the Year” and “Max Contract Player” to describe the same player. Seriously, just think about how absurd that sounds. This is why the NBA is fracturing financially.

  8. lakerluver - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    It’s no doubt a team or two will offer him the max. It would based more on his potential than his productivity. I like JH and believe he could be a star. On the other hand he could fold under the pressure of getting maxed by another team and becoming a no.1 option.

  9. 00maltliquor - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    It’s getting real old calling James Harden a max player. The term and actual payout is becoming too lose. Max players should be NBA superstars that you can build an NBA franchise around, not just a really nice 2nd-3rd option. Especially one who decides to call it a year and go on vacation after the 3rd round while the rest of the team goes on to battle in the Grand Finale, playing with his corpse pretending he’s still alive like it’s “Weekend At Bernie’s”. SMH.

  10. 00maltliquor - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    He’s got Joe Johnson written all over him.

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:52 AM

      Before anyone gets all mad and questions this ^ just think about it for a second.

      Good, young, up and coming 2 guard with handles and playmaking ability that can shoot the rock on a team as 1 of 4 super good players that should stay together on an exciting team and stick it out but probably won’t because some team wants him as thier franchise player, thus overvaluing him and getting him, making him what is considerd a great signing at the time, rejuvenating a glum franchise. Then after a whole bunch of spirited 1st round exits with a couple of 2nd round wipe outs and the team seemingly maxing out its potential as a perenial 4th-6th seed is deemed an albatross.

      Joe Johnson.

      Joe Johnson leaving PHX, Steve Nash (Russell Westbrook), Shawn Marion (Kevin Durant *NOT comparing the two, don’t get it twisted!*) and Amare Stoudemire (Serge Ibaka) for ATL.

      I’ve seen this movie before. Even read the book before the movie came out.

  11. jagwar73 - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    I hope OKC can sign James Harden so at least one other team will be able to stay competitive with the likes of the Lakers and Heat. I would at least like to see a three horse race. Three team league anyone?

  12. rocirius - Sep 16, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    I think malt nailed it on the Joe Johnson analogy.

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