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Report: James Harden turned down $52M extension offer from Thunder

Oct 27, 2012, 3:06 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder James Harden durin Getty Images

The most high-profile player eligible for a contract extension before Oct. 31 is the Thunder’s James Harden. He’s a playmaker and scorer who’s been vital to the team’s success, and took home the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award just last season. But he’s looking for a max contract, and the Thunder are looking to avoid luxury tax penalties, so the negotiations drag on.

Thunder GM Sam Presti and Harden’s agent Rob Pelinka have been in recent talks, but the sides are still apart on a deal. According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the latest offer came in about $8 million short.

Harden, 23, recently turned down a four-year offer worth about $52 million, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Harden, last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, has been pushing for a maximum contract extension of four years, $60 million.

Nevertheless, the fact the two sides are still negotiating suggests there could be a deal to be made somewhere between the Thunder’s latest offer and Harden’s desire for a max contract.

Harden has said he wants to stay with the Thunder, but a player with his talent deserves a max contract, and it appears that he knows it. If no deal is reached by Wednesday’s deadline, Harden will become a restricted free agent on July 1, where he’ll almost certainly receive that max offer from someone else. The Thunder will have the right to match, of course, so even if a deal doesn’t get done, the possibility that Harden could stay with the team remains.

Kurt Helin broke down the ins and outs of the situation between Harden and the Thunder in greater detail, so give that a read and let us know if you think Harden will indeed be back playing for Oklahoma City for the start of the 2013-14 season.

  1. pl4tinum514 - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Dude isn’t as good as he thinks he is. He cost them a championship with his ridiculous offensive fouls and one dimensional offense.

    • sellahh - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      I couldn’t possibly agree more.
      Extend him (he is talented and very skilled, just not max-contract talented) and then trade him. He did OKC no good in the finals.

    • dls612 - Oct 27, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      agreed ! Dude is really beside himself! That will be one contract among others that will be regrettable!

      • dls612 - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM

        To clarify myself, he’s really trying to say its all about the money and if he rejected that offer then between him and his agent they think there are a few dumb teams out there that will give them a deal they’re looking for!

    • aarondommin - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      Thats a highly irrational statement. James Harden’s responsibility on the Thunder is to make open shots that are created by Durant and then handle AND run the offense when Westbrook sits. Per 48 mins the guy is a league leader in getting to the free throw line and scoring efficiency. Plus he was a league leader in 4th quarter scoring. Is he a top 10 player in the league? No. Is he a max player? Yes. The only reason OKC isn’t offering the max is cause the tax penalties turn him into much worse then a max player. Stop hating Harden cause OKC has too many good players

    • eugenesaxe - Oct 27, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      Doesn’t matter how good HE thinks he is. Someone will pay him max.

  2. drunkenjunk - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    “but a player with his talent deserves a max contract”
    lololololololololol, no he doesn’t.

  3. drunkenjunk - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    “but a player with his talent deserves a max contract”
    lololololololololol, no he doesn’t.

  4. therealhtj - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    No worries, you peckerwoods keep talking him down and watch him bolt for greener pastures. Then watch your very small championship window close for good.

    • minnesotablizzard - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      thumbs up for usage of, “Peckerwoods”

    • minnesota32 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM

      Hello Houston

  5. floridascuba1 - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Harden is over rated for a max contract. He will bolt only to realize that he should’ve taken the 52 and stay

    • therealhtj - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      Right, cuz NBA players frequently regret taking the most money possible. Just ask Joe Johnson.

  6. spthegr8 - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I will be the first person to admit that. The way Harden played in the finals, was the BIGGEST reason they lost. But don’t get it twisted. James Harden is DEFF a max-contract player. He didn’t help them any with his play in the finals. But without him, they don’t make it there!!!!!!!! He can get a shot for himself whenever he wants, but he can also create for other ppl. Player’s like that don’t grow on tree’s!!!!

  7. deebasketballguy - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Is Harden supposed to do a team team bailout? Thta $8 million means a lot more to Ahrden over his lifetime than the team. The team will continue to make money after he’s too old to play

    Can’t fault Harden because this is the deal that owners locked out the players for. Owners can’t have it both ways.

  8. deebasketballguy - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Maybe Harden will end up on a team like Milwaukee — to improve the “competitive balance’ that the owners were seeking. LOL

  9. ibchuck33 - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    And soon you can ask Jeremy Lin about taking the most money offered and regretting it

  10. raidmagic - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    That’s crap, players bitch no loyalty then he’s gonna hold their feet to the fire when they are trying to keep a championship core together? He’s not a max guy…he’s not carrying a team on his own and that is what a max player should be able to do.

    • deebasketballguy - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      The owners are the ones who put the new structure in place.

    • drunkenjunk - Oct 27, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      this should be the definition of a max guy, carrying a team on your back. Harden hasn’t showed he’s capable.

  11. magicbucs - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Give the kid a break in his first finals. He’s only 23 and had to guard wade. Most veterans would of had a bad finals. He will be signing with the magic in July. Back together with Hennigan. The guy who scouted him and help draft him. He’ll blossom more on his own than being the 3rd option with the thunder.

  12. deebasketballguy - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    How many things are really worth the price that you pay for them? The market dictates the price.

    Why doesn’t Apple sell iPhones fro $75? Because they don’t have to.

    Why should Harden take $8 million less? Because he doesn’t have to.

    • eugenesaxe - Oct 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      But if Apple charged less, they’d sell more and get an even bigger market share.

  13. sportsnut101 - Oct 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Harden is a good player but not a max guy who’s better as a reserve

    I would up to 55 mil but if he says no I would start looking for best deal for him.

    Get 3 players for him plus a pick N move on If he wants to give up on the a contender over 5 mill n go to the suns well enjoy no playoffs for a while

    He does know there is flop rule this yr so how is he gonna play def

  14. claymatthewshairplugs - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    This flopper doesn’t deserve a max deal. max deals are reserved for franchise players and superstars. Harden is good but he’s not Durant or Westbrook. He’s more on the level of guys like Aldrige or Stoudamire, solid building blocks but not your best player. lets be honest the guy looks really good because he plays next to Durant

  15. 00maltliquor - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    4 years/52 million is MORE then a generous offer form OKC!! He’s gonna f up something really special going on over there in Oklahoma once free agency hits. Makes me sad as a fan of greatly put together teams through the draft/ “superteams”, but as a Laker fan this is probably the best thing that can happen. One less roadblock. Still don’t like it though. I don’t want nothing easy, there has to be a challenge to make winning it all feel right.

    • loungefly74 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM

      agree Malt. i feel better (as a Laker fan, of course) that OKC lost JH. they did get some decent pieces in return but losing JH will hurt them.

      hmmmm….does OKC’s “window” close up quicker? we will see.

  16. moseskkim - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    U guys are crazy to think he’s not a max player. He shoots great from the field, great 3 pt stroke, gets to the line and makes em, is the best playmaker on that team.. Horrible nba finals I agree but he was hurt some. His numbers are great but if he started he would have awesome numbers as well. Super talented. He’s just getting started too.

    • 00maltliquor - Oct 27, 2012 at 8:15 PM

      So does Joe Johnson, doesn’t mean he should be a max player.

      Let’s clear this up….max guys should be and only be “face of the franchise” type of players. Players that on just them alone make you a contender. James Harden that is NOT. He’s on the tier below that. With Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay, etc. etc.

    • raidmagic - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:15 PM

      If he’s the best player on that team why does he come off the bench. Dwight was the best player in Orlando….he started

      • moseskkim - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:57 PM

        Best playmaker isn’t best player. Just as Nash is the best playmaker on the lakers but obviously not the best player. Harden doesn’t start because there’s enough offense in the starting lineup. He sure finishes all games though.

  17. thomaskouns - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Lot of good comments on this.

    He still is four years away from reaching his prime but he is definitely not a max contract player.

    That being said, you could say that about a lot of guys with max contracts in the NBA.

  18. davemeisner - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Come home to PHX!

  19. hojo20 - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    I can see Harden signing with the Bucks or Kings, and then being miserable because he’s on a loser and doesn’t fit in well….Be careful what you wish for James.

    • badintent - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:48 PM

      Look at T-Mac , walked out on Raps when they were building a top team, got his max deal in Orlando, then jacked his 30 shots a night with no help, and never got even close to Eastern Finals. $$ but no rings, no team fame, and now off to Peking Ducks. $52 million buys tons of hoes, fastass cars, cribs and bling. At 23 he can get some anti-aging cream too, dude looks like 33. Lebron looks like 37. Gotta be the shoes.!!

  20. decimusprime - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Pay the man his money! His beard alone deserves a max-contract!

  21. tcclark - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    I hate max contracts. They set player’s values for them and hurt the competitive balance in the NBA. If the Bobcats, or Bucks, or Raptors, want to offer this guy 30 million a year they should be able to. That’s the only opportunity they have to get a guy of this caliber. Why do you think big markets matter so much in the NBA? Players can make more than the max for a large market team because of endorsements. Max contracts don’t level the playing field, they tilt the playing field in favor of the teams that make the league the most money. Why do you think guys sign for teams like the lions or Bcs in the NFL? ’cause they’re willing to pay them more than a big market team will. Markets don’t matter in other leagues, because there are no max contracts.

    btw 30 million was just a random large number so please don’t comment telling me i’m stupid because there’s no way Harden’s worth 30 million.

  22. mtx1992 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    I don’t think he’s a max player, but I can see Harden’s point. He’s seeing players like Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Deron Williams, Amar’e Stoudemire, Kevin Love signing max deals, none of which deserve such contracts, so why wouldn’t he ask for one too? Harden is as talented as these guys.

  23. cabby782 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    You are way behind ! He has been traded to Rockets!

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      You realize this was written and put up about 10 hours before that trade, right?

  24. nikedunks13 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    He didn’t deserve a max contract, what 6th man gets a max contract? he can’t even play against starters

  25. jagsfan11 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:33 PM


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