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Saturday, October 27th, 2012 at 1:12 pm  |  76 responses

Thunder Reportedly Won’t Offer James Harden Max Deal


UPDATE: Yahoo! reports that Harden recently turned down a four-year, $52 million offer. The Thunder and Harden are still negotiating an extension.

by Ryne Nelson / @slaman10

The Thunder are putting the collective bargaining agreement to the test by trying to fit James Harden’s contract under the cap.

A max contract is waiting for Harden from another team, but according to ESPN, the Thunder are demanding that the Bearded One accept an extension worth less than the max:

Hoopsworld reported that the two sides have devised a heavily incentivized deal that could get Harden max money if the Thunder continue to dominate the West.

Harden spent media day saying that he expects to sign a long-term deal with OKC—another sign pointing toward a deal being met by Wednesday’s deadline.

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  • Bravo

    Dang harden you should walk. Your worth more than a 6th man spot

  • JML-G

    the end of OKC big three is in its first stages officially

  • roscoe

    If OKC is smart they will deal Harden b4 he walks.

  • ctk

    I dont see what the problem is …paid him now if u dont get the title n the next 2-3yrs ..Trade him,Westbrook,or Ibaka based on whatever u tryin to do n the future …go for broke now

  • zogs19994

    IF HE GETS SIGNED TO MAX BY ANOTHER TEAM….
    JOE JOHNSON 2.0

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Didn’t think they’d be able to sign both him and Ibaka to big deals. If they lose him, they better hope that Perry Jones reaches his potential quickly or they will drop behind the Lakers and Clippers.

  • drewmada

    I guess if he performed better during the finals,this isn’t even an issue.

  • shutup

    If Harden walks, the chance of the Thunder competing for a title walk with him. Not to take away from Durant or Westbrook; but Harden coming off the bench make the Thunder “special”.

  • danpowers

    id love to see him on the suns. this team would be a strong playoff team straightaway

  • RKJ92

    And automatically lose in the first round everytime.. yaaaaa awesomeeee…

  • Redd

    I cannot imagine he will, there has to be a solid, solid reasoning as to why he slipped.

  • Rainman

    They probably arent going to sign him by the 31st. Then teams will be lining up to give him a max contract which OKC wont/cant match.

  • Rainman

    Harden is gonna be a Phoenix Sun by next year. I called it here first.

  • spit hot fiyah

    he can’t just walk, he is a rfa, okc decides if they keep him or not

  • spit hot fiyah

    they would be stupid to deal him since it will be close to impossible to get equal value. they will just match any offer sheet he signs

  • Redd

    I can’t reply to you on that Jordan thread but for one thanks for the Eid well wishes, caught me off guard. Also, I’ll admit I was ignorant, Jordan to me was the guy on Space Jam as a kid & always everywhere with a smile, guess I’m bias. I feel dumb, I was indeed young & don’t know much of what he used to do.

    This is entirely out of place on this thread.

  • Dagger

    There is no reason to offer him the max now when they can just match any offer on the table next summer, which will be no higher than the max. That said, given Harden’s comments earlier in the summer I find it hard to believe that he’ll ultimately insist on the max this fall.

  • spit hot fiyah

    okc would be stupid to give him the max and harden would be stupid accept anything less than the max. that’s why they will just let him sign an offer sheet with a team under the cap that can not offer as much as okc and then match it. done deal. they wont trade him because they wont get equal value. what is happening right now actually makes sense.
    do people on here talking about harden “walking away” even know what a restricted free agent is?

  • Dagger

    No, money is the issue here – specifically the tax.

  • http://SLAMonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    My thoughts exactly. Sounds like they’re going to work something out, but it definitely would strap the team financially for the foreseeable future.

  • Deuce

    THE HEAT WILL ALWAYS BE BETTER, OKC SHOULD GIVE UP NOW

  • Ben

    Who hasn’t called it?

  • danpowers

    lol doesnt matter, i understand your point. to me it was the other way round tho. back then i was a knicks fan and jordan was always the bad guy who beat my team. so i hated him all the time. but when he retired i really missed him, no sport will ever have such a dominant icon

  • danpowers

    u sure? i expect beasley to have break out season. imagine scola, dragic, beasley and harden together. that would give most defenses alot of things to worry about. gortat is also a nice center. could be good for a suprise

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    and the saga continues

  • BC

    If you aren’t apart of your teams starting 5 there shouldn’t be any reason you get signed to a max contract and on top of that he’s never been an All-Star.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Beasley was supposed to break out last season too in Minnesota and we saw what happened.

  • http://twitter.com/PhreshPrince83 Aamir Khuller

    True…like Dagger said James is a nice dude and he will be fine with waiting til next summer when OKC can match any max deal that someone like Dallas throws out there.

  • justin05

    I don’t think Beasley will be very productive. His ppg may go up but his fg% will drop. He might take wild shots also, now that he will be the #1 or #2 option on offense

  • elmaar

    Never ever there was a chance they loose him for nothing first
    Second, even without harden, an ever improving combo of Durant and Westbrook and a bunch of good role players are bonafide title contenders.
    Although the clippers matched up pretty well against OKC last season, to put them ahead of OKC minus Harden is a stretch.
    That being said it seems Harden is not going anywhere plus Presti again earned his $$$ by picking Perry Jones.
    The future looks enviously bright.

    They are Birdmanish fully loaded.

  • LeroyShonuff

    Chicago seems more likely…

  • KC

    Harden is very far from being worth a max deal. not even close.

  • TBRK

    guess he’s not a max player…..lol

  • ctk

    Eric Gordon got the max with only 9games played last yr…n missed mad games the 2seasons prior….WE ALL KNOW Harden gettin the max …Cleveland,Dallas,Houston,Atlanta,Clippers(if CP3 dont come back),n Suns will all give him a max offer …What is the Thunder fighting..shrug

  • danpowers

    im an optimistic person, the change of scenery, the way his new team is set up and how he looked in the preseason imply that he will be more the 10/11 beasley than the 11/12 beasley.

  • Rainman

    you

  • Rainman

    EID MUBARAK BRUVVVVVVVVS

  • Rainman

    YOU TOO BRUV

  • Max

    If Harden would accept a deal less than the max it would be better for OKC and eventually for him.
    If he would end up in Phoenix, his popularity etc will go down with it.
    A. He stays with OKC and becomes the next Manu.
    B. He goes to a bad team for the max money and becomes Joe Johnson/Monta Ellis.

  • KipSmithers

    It’s clear the Tunder don’t need him when they have *epic music plays* DEANDRE LIGGINS!!! All joking aside, Liggins does have potential to a great defensive stopper for years.

  • roscoe

    Your strategy if you want to call it that, which I won’t, is what becomes a huge issue for small market teams. OKC does not have the ability to pay him a max deal or they would have bc they know how important he is. The only way to keep him is for him to sign for less, which is clear he won’t if 10/31 passes. Letting him go for nothing is a huge mistake for a small market team like OKC. You ask why? Bc no one, I mean, no one worth signing is going to OKC in free agency bc a substantial amount of earning potential a player could have in a big metro area simply does not exist in OKC. Wake up spit hot fiyah.

  • danpowers

    lol thanks but i aint muslim

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    The number 2 pick in the draft got traded for 2 second round picks. He will have to prove that his head is on straight first before anyone should trust him on the floor.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Nah, without Harden, they’re a 4 or 5 seed. Durant and Westbrook would need to score 60 between them in order to have a chance in the playoffs. Not another player is a consistent scorer outside of their big 3. Don’t underestimate the value of having the 6th man of the year on your squad who could and would start for 95% of the teams in the league. Ask Tim Duncan and Tony Parker about the value of Manu Ginobili. They wouldn’t have won 1 championship without him.

  • Junior Taylor

    Told y’all I would rather have Ibaka than pay Harden because KD/Russ do more than enough scoring needed to be a contender.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    The smartest thing they could do is wait and match the offer sheet he signs with another team if he chooses to do so. It’s the best strategy. He won’t walk because he’ll be a restricted free agent. He hasn’t indicated that he wants to leave OKC. Why would he? They’re the best team in the Western Conference and have gotten better each season. If he goes to a team like Phoenix, he will be the best player on a team that can’t make the playoffs. He’s smart enough to look around and see other two guards who are stars on bad teams. Why would he want that? Also, the bond that he has with Durant and Westbrook will play a part in it. He’s not going anywhere. I expect him to agree to a deal that is a little less than what he wants but is still a great deal for him.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I don’t know about that. Unless you think Ibaka could move up to being a 15 ppg kind of player. Other than that, they have no other scorers outside of Kevin and Russell.

  • shutup

    By walk I meant if they don’t match the offers, and he ends up somewhere else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    it would be interesting if the Kings offered him the max next year and the Thunder did not match….he could really bring all of that talent together

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    good comment

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    check this out….this link shows who has paid the luxury tax in the last10 years…OKC sells out every game…plus they will be deep in the playoffs (more home games)….they can without a doubt sign Harden if they truly want to

    http://www.shamsports.com/media/luxurytax.jpg

  • Redd

    Eid Mubarak to you too(I assume sorry if I’m wrong).

  • Redd

    Mormon.

  • Redd

    I hope 1 day a popular sport has a star who is both great & cares for the world (a Malcolm X of sorts, god rest his soul).

  • MikeC.

    There are more reasons he’s far more likely to remain in OKC than leave. Prior to being drafted, Harden flat-out said that he didn’t enjoy being “The Man” on his college team. He didn’t like being looked to all the time to score the most points. He emailed Presti and begged Presti to draft him so he could be more of a role player. Harden doesn’t want to go somewhere else and have his “own team”. He wants to help KD and Russ build something special.

    Paying Harden max money isn’t so much about economics and paying the tax as it is keeping flexibility to improve the roster. Don’t forget that OKC still has it’s amnesty left to play. Prior to the Dwight trade, I thought for sure OKC would amnesty Perkins and use that flexibility to re-sign Harden and get a couple more solid bigs (think Kwame Brown/Marcus Camby types) to keep Ibaka from grinding with 5′s. Now that LA has Dwight, OKC is likely to keep Perk because he owns timeshare in Dwight’s head and is one of the few that can physically handle Dwight on the block. I’m not sure how long teams have to use their amnesty, but if the clock on that runs for at least 2 more years, then I can see OKC letting the season play out, let another team make the max offer they’re allowed to make under the CBA, and then OKC just matches it because it’s less than the max they’d have to offer. Then they roll the dice on breaking through in the near future. If it doesn’t happen, they can amnesty their worst contract (might not even be Perk at that point) to cut the tax bill and they still have a great, young core.

    All that being said, if OKC says they can’t offer Harden max money because they can’t afford it, then I call BS on the owners (that’s not hard to do anyway, but I digest). They sell out every home game, sell a ton of merchandise and they’re also owned by billionaires. They can afford to give him max money, but they need to keep flexibility to add role players. If Harden is getting big money and keeps coming off the bench, then they need to be able to use something like mid-level money to sign the starting 2. Flexibility to keep adding pieces is the most important part of this song and dance. From the perspective of someone who doesn’t really care how it all shakes out, anyway.

  • MikeC.

    Or OKC will just trade him to the Rockets while I’m typing that novel and make me look like a moron.

  • MikeC.

    I typed a novel below about all the reasons why OKC can and will keep Harden, but while I was typing it, the trade to Houston was announced. Dizzle!

  • 1tail

    sorry. he’s a rocket

  • Redd

    He just got traded, in a fricking super lopsided trade.

  • roscoe

    you don’t seem to get it. I am deducting that OKC does not have the necessary amount of cash flow to carry jharden. there is no reason they should be holding up his signing bc he is valuable to them as we all know. if they can’t sign him now… one more year at their current cash flow won’t support signing harden. why? bc they just went to the finals and earned as much revenue in one year as they can expect for at least 3 years imo. wanting to sign him has nothing to do with not being able to sign him. if they can’t sign him they should trade him.
    as for your points about harden liking OKC and being in w/ kd & russ i dnt doubt that, but let’s face it, nba-ers care about green backs first until i am proven wrong on this one. maybe your right… we will see.

  • Jeremys6226

    He just got traded to Houston for K-Mart and Jeremy Lamb

  • Rainman

    He Got Traded to the Rockets…!!

  • Rainman

    damnit

  • Rainman

    oh u straight, dw

  • SirGrey

    Just got traded to Houston. This sucks…

  • Rainman

    oh i know, but thats why it was humerous.

  • roscoe

    you have some decent points above, but your last paragraph is laughable. TV revenue rules the nba, not tickets or tshirt sales, and OKCs TV market is small thus OKCs total revenue compared to the major market teams is significantly less. they simply can’t pay. if you expect a billionaire to pay for harden out other businesses money you will be let down, bc it ain’t happening nor should it, from a business standpoint. the team market and revenue dictates the contracts OKC can give or they will be at risk from a business standpoint.

  • roscoe

    lol… i just saw the harden trade too…

  • Rainman

    Four year, 52 mill doesnt sound so bad now , huh James? It wasnt liek u were being ripped off or anything… u ruined a potentially great team.

  • danpowers

    lol what? i aint mormon neither, i am agnostic

  • danpowers

    mhhhh you mean rather like marthin luther king ;)

  • danpowers

    also true. we will see

  • danpowers

    not yet. kevin martin aint that bad neither. a lethal scorer from anywhere on the floor, better than harden at putting the ball into the basket. just doesnt do anything else which should be ok when playing against other second units

  • Redd

    So, a Sports icon who cheats on his wife & has an idol from India who fought for Apartheid? Lol jk jk.

  • danpowers

    lol wtf? ghandi fought for apartheid? ghandi fought for independence and to advance past the caste system. i dont know about the cheating part, my bad. to me he is just the greater person than x coz his dream included not only equality between men but also unity. plus the peaceful way is always better (and as history prove) also more successful than the militant way, no matter what one wants to achieve. thats why i as an outsider/observer say: king over x all day lol

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    lol I didn’t see it coming either.

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