Saturday, July 28th, 2012 at 3:31 pm  |  36 responses

James Harden Says He’s Open to Signing With Suns

A year from now, James Harden will hit the market as a restricted free agent. The problem is: Retaining Harden and Serge Ibaka—who’s also a restricted FA in ’13—will likely put OKC into the luxury tax. Harden is keeping his options wide open—saying he will consider signing with the Suns for the ’13-14 season and beyond (Arizona Republic): “A flicker of hope for Valley basketball fans: Former Arizona State star James Harden would consider signing with the Suns if his contract expires after next season. ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘Of course. I love it there. My mom lives there still. So that’s definitely my second home as far as my comfort level and going to school there. But obviously, I’m with the Thunder right now and what we have is special.’ Harden and his beard enjoyed breakout seasons in 2011-12, helping Oklahoma City reach the NBA Finals. The Thunder already secured stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to long-term deals, and by 2015, those two players alone will command $35 million. This off-season, the team has a window of opportunity to extend Harden and Serge Ibaka, but league salary-cap restrictions and harsh luxury-tax penalties will make it difficult to sign both. At the least, it would require great sacrifice from the players involved. If no deal is reached, Harden would become a restricted free agent after next season. A team such as the Suns could then make it hard on Oklahoma City by signing him to a lucrative offer sheet. ‘That’s out of my hands,’ Harden said. ‘That’s not my decision. That’s the front office. I’ll let them decide that.’”

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  • IncredibleLank

    Ooo, as a Suns fan this is exciting. However I’m sure this is just to drive his price up.

  • CDaTyrant

    Gotta keep Segrge, guys like harden will reappear

  • basketball_iQ

    no… get rid of westbrook. and wait for a REEEEEAAAALLLL pg to appear to pair with a “KevinDurant” and JamesHarden on the wings and re-sign Ibaka.
    If you put steve Nash on the Thunder last season, swap for Westbrook, the Thunder win a championship last year.
    Whenever westbrook understands the importance of being the guy who “facilitates,” he’ll become the deadliest player in the league.
    But right now, he looks awkward when its time for him to create for others,,, like Iverson did, so he looks to score & if he feels he cant get a shot off, THEN he passes it, getting accidental assists.

  • Ed

    ^R U CRAZY THEY WOULDN’T HAVE EVEN GOT TO THE FINALS WITH OUT WESTBROOK, harden bribed he was expendable in the finals, Westbrook game helps the team because he commands alot of attention, Westbrook controls the game and the tempo that most teams in the league can’t handle (other than the heat)

  • basketball_iQ

    oh yeah.. tell me how often a SG comes along who can go both ways with both hands, creating his own shot but still unselfish enough to create for others who cant(Perk,collison,ibaka), has 25ft range on his jumpshot but still has a deadly midrage game, has went bucket for bucket with Kobe, outscoring him even, can play exceptional defense when it counts at his position when it counts.

    Yeah thunder, wait around for another one of those guys.

    If they put Harden in the starting lineup and got back a Rondo or CP3, Westbrooks ball-hog-ish points wont be missed… they’ll be spread all across the board from perk to ibaka to an increase in harden and durant. you lose hardens 17ppg off the bench and his unselfishness to pass/create, itll NEVER be made up.

  • Nope

    ^ derp da derp derp derp. i love steve nash, but no. just no. westbrook of 2012 and especially of 2013 is not inferior to nash. he’s certainly different, but not inferior. he needs to grow up a bit, but westbrook can still defend on the ball. the thunder do not need defensive liabilities to open up offensive lanes. they will score the ball. kevin durant will always score the ball. harden too. ibaka will block shots. they have a championship caliber squad, they just need that championship mentality.

  • Reeld

    ^harden’s game is one dimensional, westbrooks game gives them way more. westbrooks facilitating skills are underated. westbrook is just a beast on the court as was proven in the finals, harden got shut down and couldn’t do anything. If you took harden off that finals team, sefolosha get’s more playing time and they probly win another game or two

  • http://nba.com/bulls The Babe

    I don’t see why people think he’s so good, he was terrible in the playoffs because he had to actually guard 1st string players… Westbrook is a scoring, insanely athletic PG who has proven he can play in the playoffs (takes to many shots but whatever), Ibaka plays his role and how often do you get an athletic defensive minded big who can actually play offence

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Harden starting for a team could avearge 25 pts easy. He is worth it, next year. If I was Hornets I try to trade Eric Gordon for him next year if OKC think, they cannot afford him and Ibaka.

  • SirGrey

    Harden’s game one-dimensional ? The guy is the best facilitator on the team. Solid rebounder and defender, only 22 years old. Def a 23, 4 and 4 guy on another team. Thabo ? Getting his shot blocked by Wade 24/7 from the corner is all he can do in the finals.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    @the seed if the thunder can’t keep harden, why would they trade for eric gordon and his monster contract

  • Chuck

    Please. Still just 22. Take a look at Nash at 22 and compare. Most bloggers forget the basic principal that athletes, especially ballers, get better and better as they get older fill out and get more experience. Look at KD two years ago after he was sharply criticized as being too thin, getting pushed around by Artest, and shooting poorly against the Lakers and now.

    The facts remain that the Thunder core are still barely out of college, and if Perkins is healthy or if Perry Jones gives them something and Maynor is back, they will be a mighty handful comes playoff time.

  • Basketball_iQ

    Lebron pushed him around this year^^…. Soooooo?
    2nd-Nothing I said is false about harden or westbrook. & nash is a hof’er. Oh I get it
    the way you dudes sound, its westbrook’s team & if he wasn’t on the team, they’d be the league’s trash.
    One word : wow.
    Actual confirmation.. A bih on here don’t know what the fk they talking about.
    I actually watch tape. Talk to the next bih like they stupid & just randomly show up to post,,, not me you stupid fks

  • alex80

    finally good news for the suns

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Might need to trim that beard of his, Phoenix gets pretty hot. ;)

  • Bernie

    Trade harden move Westbrook to the 2 guard get a real point guard resign ibaka and now everyone’s argument is void

  • Bernie

    Nash wouldn’t have made a difference but a rondo Westbrook Durant ibaka Perkins line up wouldn’t lose

  • D12FSU

    They’re both really good at basketball

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    cosign chuck Harden got absolutely EXPOSED defensively in the playoffs. and without westbrook, they don’t get to the finals.people can whine all they want about westbrook shooting too much but the fact is that if Scott Brooks had a problem he’d sit him. Westbrook’s attacking takes a lot of defensive pressure off Durant, and his facilitating is underrated. plus his defense when keyed in is monstrous. you’re an idiot if you watched that finals series and thought “oh if only kevin durant got the ball more OKC could win this” OKC lost bc they had absolutely no answer for lebron. So yes. trading westbrook instead of harden is retarded. In all honesty tho Harden would be stupid to leave OKC anytime soon. this team is a powerhouse that’ll be in the finals almost every year. phoenix will be lucky to make the playoffs even with Harden

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    and basketball IQ you’re also wrong when you say Harden has a midrange game. Harden is an elite finisher and an excellent 3 point shooter but Westbrook’s mid range game is better, and he’s an equally capable finisher, as well as a better defender, and rebounder.

  • http://Yahoo Ronald

    No don’t leave OKC that’s ur only chance to win a championship guys all around the leauge work years trying to win a ring and can’t don’t make this mistake over MONEY harden

  • LA Huey

    Westbrook is hated for his flaws more than he’s appreciated for his abilities. If Thunder doesn’t want to pay the luxury tax, they should keep Durant and Westbrook, resign Ibaka, and sign & trade Harden in the offseason. A midseason trade with this team’s potential would be stupid.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Just saying, all advanced stats point to Harden being far more helpful to the team. Westbrook is overrated in terms of contribution to wins, not ability. He’s skilled, athletic, and confident. But he doesn’t get wins the way an elite player should.

  • slamthis

    Harden is probably sick of hearing about Durant and Westbrook all the time. Everyone knows kid got game so instead of trying to be a sixth, he probably thought it’ll be better to be his own man. Everyone in the the league started to play for money not rings! When they get all that dough after so long then they become ring chaser. There’s nothing wrong when you can have both. Harden should stay though and develope his game even more. Wesbrook is the perfect catalysts for that team he just needs to learn to be more patient and learn how to pass a bit more. Either way OKC will have to pick which of the two players can stay.

  • Mike from Spain

    @Caboose -> PER likes Westbrook more, and WS/48 likes Harden better. Either way, based on a quick look at the advanced stats, it looks like they help the team to win pretty much the same. Now, personally, I like Harden’s style better. But Westbrook is still a beast!

  • Basketball_iQ

    Westbrook is hated for his flaws BECAUSE HE’S THE FKN PG … !
    remember, harden got here third…waaaaay 3rd.
    He does everything you want your 2 guard to do & some of what you want your pg to do.
    You know what fk it, I agree… I hope he leaves, so he can go somewhere he can start & have a pg who handles the ball & allows him to finish & be himself.
    If he wasn’t on the thunder, that team gets no where.
    As a 6th man, he led the league in ft’s made in the 4th quarter… That deserves a wow since he has the human lay up brick machine in westbrook on his team…,, all he does is shoot. Hope he’s watching lebron in this olympic game, who has way more ability than him but chooses to pass more bc he understands the importance of getting your teammates involved & he’s no pg.
    Maybe the rest of you folks will take notice too, stupid az’s

  • Justin05

    Lol play against Nash and then Westbrook and tell me who is better. Nash runs around in circles half the time he handles the ball and even I could get shots on him. Westbrook is another story…sure he isn’t a TRUE pg but who is anymore? The game is evolvIng, guard positions are molding together and centers are almost history.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2011/10/nfl-players-advice-to-lebron-james-stick-to-basketball/ shutup

    ^even I could get shots on him. lmao. Just cause Nash’s D is supposedly weak, doesn’t mean your rusty a$$ is doing anything to him. Rondo, Parker, Nash, Kidd, fck it even Rubio= true pg’s. Newsflash Westbrook isn’t a defensive stopper either; obv you didn’t see Parker tearing him up last year.

  • theazbadboy

    as an ASU and suns diehard living in vancouver and cheering for seattle who is now okc… please dont waste our money on him … without russell dominating .. durant feeding off that.. harden would be a good 6th man.. since when does a 6th man command the max.. hes the 6th man and always will be on a good team. KEVIN LOVE IS FOR THE SUNS… TUNNEL VISION

  • theazbadboy


  • trueballer4life

    gotta respect HARDEN he bailed out okc many times in the playoffs.., he had a great season!

  • Weapon X

    35 is not the three time scoring champ if 0 is not there to take defensive attention away.

  • jerrel

    noooooooo pleasse nooo! thunder needs a year or two to become champions. don’t leave now. to become a star in a non championship team

  • Lorenzovanmatterhorn

    imagine him saying after signing the offer sheet:
    “Phoenix is where my beard is now” ;-)

  • Miguel

    I say Harden is a very good player to stay with Kevin Durant and Westbrook is too much of a ball hog. So i suggest trade Russel instead of Harden.

    I’m Just Saying.

  • coachp

    Harden got exposed offensively AND defensively in the Finals. How about trading Harden for a true PG and moving Westbrook to the 2????
    I think that Westbrook has some growing up to do, but I also feel like he could put up the same numbers Derrick Rose put up during his MVP season if he was the only Superstar on his team. He’s no where near his prime yet man…