Tuesday , Jun , 26 , 2012 Matt Formica

Will Harden Stay in OKC?

Will Harden Stay in OKC?

With the NBA Finals behind us and the draft this Thursday, the trade rumor mill is-a-buzzin’.

Hoopsvibe’s Quick Call:  The Thunder’s role players will have to take less money to keep their squad intact.

Oklahoma City, fresh off their loss to the Miami Heat in this year’s NBA Finals, have a great team but may have some tough decisions to make in the near future.  In particular, they have three extremely talented young players in James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor that are all eligible for contract extensions on their rookie deals.  But will all of their contracts get extended?

It would definitely seem in the best interest of the organization to keep all three.

James Harden, who won the NBA’s Six Man of the Year award this year, has been a subject of some questioning this week in regards to his future with the Thunder.  Harden, who played great all year, did not have the best performance in the finals against the Heat.  Not to mention, he would more than likely be in the starting five on any other team in the league.  It’s very possible that he could go out and get paid more money from another team to be in the starting five, versus taking a pay cut to stay in Oklahoma City and come off the bench.

Serge Ibaka, who isn’t necessarily known for his offensive prowess, had more blocked shots per game than any other player in the league this season.  He was runner up in the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award this season, barely losing the honor to Tyson Chandler of the Knicks.

Eric Maynor, who suffered a season-ending after he tore his right ACL against the Rockets in January, is said by many to be one of the league’s promising young point guards.  Remember, prior to playing behind Russell Westrbook, Maynor played backup to Daron Williams after he was drafted by the Jazz in 2009.  So even though he’s been sidelined with injury, he’s had two of the NBA’s premier point guards to learn from.

So what are the Thunder going to do?  My guess is they take a page out of Miami’s book and the players take a little less money in the hopes of winning a championship in the future.  Harden, who’s been very vocal about wanting to stay in OKC, was quoted saying, "This is something special here.  A dynasty could be, is being, built here.  So we’re winning, and we’re having fun and we’re brothers.  The other stuff, you can’t buy it."

Let’s hope for the sake of their organization Mr. Harden heeds his own words.

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Image source:  AP Images.