SPORTS: Thunder’s Harden Open To Signing With Suns
With the current Dwight Howard situation dominating NBA news, this off-season hasn’t been short on drama filled situations one bit. Allow James Harden to make sure that beat goes on.
Harden, who is the reigning 6th Man of the Year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, has stated
that if the Thunder are unable to re-sign him, he’s opening to joining the Phoenix Suns after the
conclusion of the 12-13 season, according to a report from AZCentral.com..
“Yeah,” said Harden, “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.”
Last season, Harden along with Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to their first NBA Finals berth, losing the series 4-1 against the Miami Heat. Harden had a breakout season along the way, averaging close to 17 points and 4 rebounds per game off the bench. These numbers are career highs for guard, who is entering his fourth season this year.
More so than just the family connection, Harden’s interest level in the Suns shouldn’t come off as a shocker to fans, as the man who fans have come to know as “The Beard”, is a alum of Arizona State University. Harden played from 2007-2009 as a member of the Sun Devils.
Following next season, The Thunder have the opportunity to offer Harden, and forward Serge
Ibaka extensions, but luxury-tax and salary cap restrictions will make it hard for the The Thunder
to keep both Ibaka and Harden, unless both were willing to take significant salary sacrifices.
If newly drafted Perry Jones is able to return to form prior to his injury, it could make Ibaka
expendable, and clear room for Harden to obtain a lucrative offer to keep him with the Thunder.
His teammate Durant hopes the Thunder can keep him around, despite Harden’s comments.
“I’m not negative, I’m not going to think the worst,” Durant said. “That’s just me. That may not
be the case, and I may be wrong. As of now, I think he’s going to be here, and we’re going to
make a concerted effort to keep him here. But that’s just me being me. We’ll see what happens.”
Harden would be a great addition to a Suns team is revamping their roster for the future after
cutting ties with former two-time MVP Steve Nash. Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, and Luis
Scola were all off season acquisitions by the Suns. Harden, who is currently a member of the
2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team, could join that group after next season.
Information used in this report is courtesy of AZCentral.Com