Can Thunder Put A Price On The Future?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If the Oklahoma City Thunder thought making The Finals with home court advantage and losing in five games was excruciating work, they haven’t seen anything yet.

James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor are all eligible for contract extensions on their rookie deals and Thunder boss Sam Presti has to come with a way to keep his roster intact.

With the changing landscape in the league and the new salary cap structure of the new collective bargaining agreement to consider, the Thunder will need a serious plan to keep Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook surrounded by one of the best supporting casts in basketball.

At their exit meetings over the weekend the players involved spoke of continuing a franchise trend of sacrificing their own financial ambitions for the greater good, surely a unique (and some might say foolish) approach when you talk about the business of basketball.

But if we’re to take them at their word, that is exactly what they are prepared to do, per Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman:

“Sacrifice,” said Maynor, “if we really want to continue. It feels like we got something special here. I feel like if guys sacrifice to get something done then everybody will be here still.”

Talk about a tough sell.

Harden is widely considered to be a top five shooting guard. He won Sixth Man of the Year honors after averaging 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists, all career-highs.

Ibaka is a rising defensive star. He led the league in blocked shots per game this season after leading the NBA in total blocks last season. He finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting behind New York center Tyson Chandler.

Maynor, meanwhile, is perhaps the best backup point guard in the league. Though he sustained a season-ending knee injury early in the year, Maynor’s floor-general skills are recognized throughout the league as being elite.

Each player easily could net more cash and, quite likely, better roles elsewhere.

Harden, however, said, for him, winning trumps dollars.

“This is something special here,” Harden said. “A dynasty could be, is being, built here. So we’re winning, we’re having fun and we’re brothers. The other stuff, you can’t buy it.”

Technically speaking, this is yet another lesson the Thunder have learned from the Heat team that schooled them in The Finals. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all took less than market value to play alongside each other and chase championships.

Don’t laugh. They did actually leave millions on the table to join forces in Miami. And it paid off.

Obviously, the Thunder players up for contract extensions this summer wouldn’t necessarily have commanded maximum extensions. But in a small market where Durant, Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins are already owed large sums of money in the coming years, the price tag on the franchise’s future is a hefty one.

Sacrifice is absolutely the only way this team stays together without the Thunder having to go into the deep end of the league’s salary pool.


  1. F YOU ALL says:

    F you all, Kobe’s the best

  2. Axe says:

    I say either trade Perk and the 28th pick for a lottery pick and get a nice cheap center or just amnesty Perk and start Cole Aldrich who in my opinion is good enough if given more time on the court. The main point is to get rid of Perk for something cheap, because then they will have more than enough money to keep Harden and Co.

  3. Boss says:

    No!!!!!! JaVale Mckee is not a good offender!!

  4. JayveeROSE1 says:

    just trade perkins.. he’s gettin too old for the game.. get mcgee? RIGHT?

  5. JayveeROSE1 says:

    just trade perkins.. he’s gettin too old for the game.. XD

  6. I think Ibaka and Harden stay in thunder or make the team intact for the next season. Stronger team wins championship

  7. arcs says:


  8. OKC says:


  9. Dew says:

    Did I just say Ibaka and Howard on the same team down low…scary…just scary.

  10. Dew says:

    Thunder should trade Perkins and Harden in a package due to potentially not being able to sign both, and to be honest…Perkins is not a good fit in OKC and Harden will get huge offers from the likes of the Lob City (Clips), Chicago, Dallas (you know Cuban will make a run for him) or Boston more than likely due to all looking to freshen up the SG position with young talent in big markets. Harden is probably top 4-5 SGs in the league and could start anywhere if he wanted to as well as get a big paycheck as long as it is not on Miami, New York, or Lakers. They face being left with nothing if Harden takes off. Would not be surprised if it is Dwight Howard’s intent to stay another year in Orlando to become a FA when Harden and Ibaka do. Imagine those 3 going somewhere. The defense would be ranked 1st every year. Probably not a mistake just like Lebron, Wade and Bosh planned out.

  11. Heaters says:

    I say cut ties with IBAKA… he can’t defend for 48 minutes.

  12. Boss says:

    Yes to mr.jumpshot=fail, The thunder can afford to trade Perk

  13. bu says:

    Harden is inexperienced & young. If he learns from the Finals & improve, OKC must find a way to keep him for the 1-2-3 punch. If Maynor continues to play well & as a good point man it helps.

    I Kinda agree with a comment about Perkins being in the wrong system & team. He worked out v well & good fit for Celtics’ system of defense & half court offense. OKC is a young & athletic team. Brooks already tried to put him in situations where he can perform effectively.

    It’s a dilema for OKC as he’s expensive but not a good fit.

  14. Jumpshot = fail says:

    Thunder Can’t afford to give away Perkins in the Western Conference. Too many bigs downlow.

  15. jauko says:

    Most of you must have been watching a different Harden in the finals than I was, otherwise you would be talking about letting him go. Sixth man during the regular season couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn during finals with Miami’s dight defense, so what good did it do him to get that award during the season when he literally fell apart during the finals. Neither he nor Perkins looked to be worth keeping. …and the coaching? Don’t get me started on how Brooks simply refused to ever show Miami a different look or two. Any rookie coach could have done that good and he wants a high dollar extension??? I should scream!

  16. John Ashton says:

    Best of luck to OKC, they do need another good forward. Looking at the finals, the Jeff Green trade was a bad one- it will continue to hunt them in the future. He was a good offensive threat on the nightly basis, something they are lacking from a big guy. They need to get several more good players to be able to get back to the western conf. finals. The team they have now want get back next year, the Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, Denver, got their number, they have to make a big trade, possibly a coaching change, terrible defense team and offense not much better.

  17. John says:

    Players do have to choose between playing for more money on a less talented team and playing for less money on a more talented team. But can earning 5 million instead of 8 be called a sacrifice???????? What has the world come to?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  18. MIAMI 3 6 1 says:

    Nene will cost more $ than perk…. They shouldn’t sign perk’s contract extension in the first place… Maybe by now OKC can shop for much better Bigman…. If they didn’t give perk an extension… Look what Dallas done to their BIG… chandler…. They let him go…. Now they are ready to compete for a better player… Like D12 or D-will…. they are widening their cap space…. as for Lakers… Uhm They still need more cap rooms…. They can sign D-will but they have to let Pau Or Bynum Go…along with MWP contract too but who’s going for a non factor MWP anyway??? And if the lakers still pursue D12… They have to release Pau and Bynum contracts…..And for sure D12 will cost lakers BIG time…or D12 sign lakers for lesser or half the amount that he can earn in other teams… HE can sign for 120Milion$ in Brooklyn Nets but for lakers I think around 80 million$ or less…

  19. UUUMMMM trade Westbrook for dwade???

  20. ballin genius says:

    trade perk n relieve space…….go get nene or anybody else…. give urself more money for the other players and possibly a vet like ray allen to stretch the d!!!!!!!!

  21. Jesse says:

    Naa Ibaka Gone… I bet hes goin To Golden State or San Antonio.

  22. xtian says:

    trade russell westbrook to doc rivers sr. or isiah thomas hahahhahahah

  23. KingJames says:

    i hope steve will go to miami, major showtime!

  24. MIAMI 3 6 1 says:

    OKC too much young to be in the FINALS…. Because of this problems they’re dealing right now… Unlike previous contenders like Dallas, Lakers ,Spurs, Celtics… and HEAT…… these teams served their time in the LEAGUE… Most of their stars already got enough amount in their bank accounts… so now they are pursuing CHAMPIONSHIP….. Most of them already eared Max Contracts in their career…. KD and RWB are talented stars no question about that… but are they willing to take pay cut early on their career??? guess answer certainly not!!!! After 8 or 7 years maybe… But now…. Money is the issue…. That’s why HEAT’s BIG 3 didn’t regret having their salary getting sliced…. They earned enough…. Do you expect Harden or Ibaka make pay cuts???? No…..The only option for OKC is do what the HEAT have done to their franchise…. Make a pay cut…or try to get multi-role players that can fill the GAP(Shane,Miller,Haslem) ….Ibaka can do that but then again money is the issue….

  25. ze_broa says:

    To win next year i will trade Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Perkins by Rondo and Kevin Garnett. Off course the Celtics wouldn’t buy that.

  26. hmmm111 says:

    trade ibaka. Thunder’s an offensive team.

    • uoykcuf says:

      which doesn’t need defense? Defense wins title my friend. You can replace Harden’s skillset in maybe couple of years but I don’t think you’ll find Ibaka’s skill set for a while.

  27. Cindy says:

    Would’nt it be nice if guys would give up a few million here and there to continue building what is obviously very special…in the NBA and, perhaps, in the world?? I choose to naively believe they will until I find out differently. Hire a good investment broker to help them recoup!! ‘Could be the most important player on the team!!

    • Ifyoujustplayball says:

      sure….just like maybe your husband or father should take a pay cut to stay in the same city so a youngster can stay in the same school……. would that be prudent??…….PS: hiring a ‘good investment broker’ should be a prerequisite for ANY pro ball player that makes tons(millions) of dough….

  28. powty says:

    trade perk to china

  29. Lakers Addict says:

    Ibaka will become be more valueable than perkins sooner than later, so I’d say keep Ibaka and let Perkins go is ideal at this point, though letting perkins is not as easy as not signing a FA.

    I think Harden limits Ibaka to become a more offensive player because the ball doesnt need to go to Ibaka because of KD, Westbrook and harden score 70 points combined. Harden is as young as Ibaka, and maybe more talented. But considering the availability of substitudes, I’d argue ibaka is more valuable to OKC particulary than harden.

    So… if OKC would like Ibaka to become a more offensive PF/C in the future, they need to give him more scoring opportunities, not just blocking shots in the paint. A taller center than Perkins and just KD and Westbrook are prerequisite. Adding Perkins and Harden to these three players are sure a plus, but the two are just too expensive

  30. Boss says:

    Thunder should get a better point guard like Carter and trade Fisher. Perkins should go as well for a better player too.

  31. JagManuel says:

    This whole sacrifice talk should have started when Durant and Westbrook got their deals if everyone were to be involved in the process. That includes Perk =)

  32. Craig says:

    perkins needs to go….
    lazy and doesnt concentrate.

    look at getting a pf or c in the draft.

    • Ifyoujustplayball says:

      trade Perkins for Kenyon Martin and save some money for the other guys….

  33. Lmfaooo .
    Keep big mouth Ibaka and maynor and let the beard men walk away n someone please tell this fooooollllll to cut his beard, god it looks so nasty ewwwwwww… its hard to find shot blocking big men but it will be easy for okc to replace harden with jason terry or rashad lewis or someone who can come off the bench and knock down some shoots. I havent seen Eric maynor play but if seku said his good then i guess he knows whats his talking about. ANywaY ATL, Orlando,Boston,La la land, and Spurs needs extrem make over next year to compete and can bulls do a better job at getting a all star Sg then RIP who (his name says it all RIP)?? CHi-tOwn get rid of some of ur bigs n sign harden maybe or an all star sg. I cant wait to see what Orlando is gonna do this summer.
    Im sure Miami will sign Ray or Steve if Miller decide to retire and Miami will also most definitely sign a good big men to fill their center void. Miami get rid off Runny Turif and use that cap space to sign reggie eveans. lets to NBA lets make some eye pooping brain scratching trade. and La la land fan Kobe aint wiining jack anymore :).

  34. chicagopride says:

    simple, release/trade perkins and/or maynor. Fisher although old, can still fill in the role of good supporting cast which he showed in the playoffs. As for Perkins, in all honestly, he’s the weak link in OKC, he’s not a great defensive presence like Ibaka and neither is he good offensively, the only option would be to trade him as neither Nazr Mohammed nor Cole Aldrich have developed to fit in.

  35. oby says:

    OKC cannot pay durant westbrook harden & ibaka together! specially durant the next future star of the nba, they will pay for durant as much as they can to keep him. somebody is going to leave in the future. harden or ibaka or both if big market teams chase them, specially if that team is a winning team. goodbye core group in okc!

  36. K.LoveWolf says:

    Very interesting article. Always gotta love Sekou’s writing.

  37. Ap says:

    Students of the game know the history. How many years did it take Pistons to beat Boston? Did they trade there core? How many seasons did Pistons kick Jordan Bulls before they got over the hump? Did they trade their core? Did San Antonio give up on their key players after futile attempts to beat the Shag Lakers? NO! Miami kept the same core because they have one of the best BB men in the game at the helm. What you do is surround the core with role players aka Battier, Miller Etc…. Thats how you win rings. This is not a Video game, this is the real thing Microwave fans of the cell phone age! lol

  38. Ap says:

    IF you trade Perkins, and let Ibaka go, OKC has NO change of getting close to the finals much less a ring. Does anyone remember what happen to Dallas? TYSON CHANLER. For those of you devaluing Perk and Ibaka, you don’t know much about the sport. Things that they do are not all about stats. Being the leader in blocks means that teams will be more reluctant to penetrate. Perk rebounds and plays great team D just as he did in Boston. ( who is not the same without him. )Perk also brings a toughness OKC did not have before he got there. He is a champion. They made great steps with him, and already you want to toss him. How can you say a player that is the leading blocker on the west champs is an average player in Ibaka. Microwave fans, learn the game, then make statements.
    There is also a thing called chemistry which you can not trade for, it happens as a result of being together and working hard for the same goal.

  39. sirc says:

    if miller is going to be out the nxt season …. allen is in @ miami … KG go to miami to have your ring

  40. Franco says:

    Trade Russell Wesbrick for Deron Williams!

  41. JG says:

    They should get rid of Perkins if they want this to work and draft a back-up center, or a veteran minimun one. Changes are coming but they have to keep Durant, Westbrook and Harden together.

  42. Abekebe says:

    Don’t worry about Ibaka, he is over-rated. Shot blocking is part of defence, you may block and save 3 or 6 pts agame. Defence is much much different matter which make a difference in teams winning strategy. Ibaka b/s he is blocker of the year we heard open his mouse wide and mock MVP, who is an all rounded super-star player. In my opinion, Ibaka is an average player, if they get it fine, if not, doesn’t impact much. If OK keeps Harden and Mynor, They will be in good hand for now.

  43. Mike says:

    Ibaka doesn’t deserve a huge contract extension. Foolish shot blocker. That’s all he is. Blocked Shots. Nothing else!!!

    • Lakers Addict says:

      Im second to this thought. Ibaka is overrated in many ways, just look at his stats.
      9.8-5.8 for the playoffs this post season, and this is not someone who deserves a huge increas in his paycheck because his “market” value is thought to be larger than his current pay. Here’s why.

      OKC has many offensive options at this point, KD, Westbrook, and Harden. OKC doesnt need anymore offensive players. They need to protect the paint, and that’s all is expected of Ibaka.

      But wouldnt you expect your PF to do more than just 10-6 considering his “market” value? Situation is not the same in most of the teams, maybe the Heat is an exception but, I doubt other teams would pay him premium just to protect the paint. I would argue 5 more rebounds is more valueable than 2 blocks, and there are players who can get this done with better offensive skill sets.

      But don’t get me wrong, Ibaka is very talented and he possesses huge potential. And since OKC is the best place for him to stay in his comfortzone, where not much is asked of him, OKC should keep him with a moderate raise to his paycheck.

  44. Miami Guy says:

    Wade, Bosh, James already made enough money to have their comfort level to sacrifice for Miami Heat. I am not sure if that is the case for Ibaka, and Harden.

    • Thomas Montague says:

      You are 100% correct. When the raw numbers hit them in the face, I think they will have some hard decisions to make.

      The only case that I can think of where a player made a questionable financial decision in order to chase a trophy is Udonis Haslem. He took an actual pay cut of 50% in order to stay with the Heat. The Mavericks offered him twice as much as the Heat. The irony is that he might have gotten both the money and the title in Dallas if he had taken their offer in the summer of 2010. I think that somwhere down the road he is going to think about the $16M that he “paid” to win a title.

  45. James Lee says:

    The way KD hug his mom in the West Conf. Final, I realize they will lose in the Finals.
    Because it reminds me of LeBron reaction when the Heat beat Celtics in last year’s East Conf. Finals.

    The relief they both shown is like they thought the toughest series is over and they have bagged the Trophy…

    • sbfern805 says:

      Idiot!! Durant hugs his mom in every game before AND after the game. Durant brought his A game to the Finals and not once did he flake out. Miami played a better finals and small plays made the difference. But you cannot say Durant thought the seires was inthe bag.

    • sportsCritique says:

      I think youre partly right because I thought the same thing. I still dont believe the best team won the Championship. The Thunder are a great second half team and are used to being able to erase double digit deficits. I think that also was part of their problem. Durant usually saves his heroics for the fourth quarter when he should be more involved throughout the game. Doesnt help that Westbrook (and I like Westbrook) held the ball too long in starting up the half court offense. AND Perkins in over Ibaka? I thought that was the worst coaching decision in the Spurs series and doubly worse when the same decision was made in the Heat series.
      Sit Perkins for the last three quarters and have Maurice Cheeks calling plays from the bench and the Thunder are NBA champions…lol

  46. TTKIN says:

    Ok I dont watch the Thunder often so someone please help me with this. I am not trying to insult anyone, but just curious.

    OKC’s biggest advantage over Miami was supposed to be there big men. But Miami dominated the series and they did it by winning in the paint. Ibaka can block shots, but now I question his defense. Tyson Chandler could block out the whole lane, why didnt Ibaka? Blocking shots does not mean anything about defense, just ask DeAndre Jordan who can block 2 shots a game but when Bynum comes to town he’s able to score 38 points. So Ibaka now seems to be somewhat overrrated, while James Harden even though he had an awful Finals is still one of the best SGs today.Wouldnt it be a no-brainer to keep Harden?

    Does this make sense? Any input anyone?

    • Thomas Montague says:

      It is not a “no-brainer.” Harden has potential to be a great shooting guard, but Serge Ibaka is 6’10” tall. If you have to make a choice, you will keep Ibaka. Shot-blocking is his greatest strength NOW. He is going to be an oustanding 15′-18′ shooter and will improve his post game. You can find guys like Harden, but finding a big man who is good on offense and defense is not easy. Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan have little offensive skill. Serge is already more skilled offensively than either of them.

      He did not have a great finals, but he showed flashes of his potential in the WC Finals against San Antonio. Serge is just 22 and is a future All-Star. Harden is a future All-Star as well, but he is just 6’4″ tall. Keep the Big Fella’.

    • QuestionMark says:

      I would much rather keep Ibaka, he is the greatest shotblocker in the league, and without Ibaka, then OKC’s defense will go from great to average, Perkins isn’t much a shot blocker but he is a low post defender, I would much rather keep the interior defense together rather than the 6th man of the year, even though Harden quite possibly maybe the 3rd best SG behind Wade and Kobe.

  47. OKC FAN says:

    At this point in Harden, Ibaka and Maynor’s careers getting the most money should be the practical thing to do, not chasing a championship that might or never happen. I personally believe in the guaranteed or controlled variable which is getting the most money than the uncontrollable variable which is winning a championship. My recommendation for this free agents to be would be to get the maximum money they can command for their skill set while they are still young and then chase a championship for less money 5 years from now. I know the thunder wouldn’t be able to keep their cores of young talents long term, if they do, then they risk paying the exorbitant luxury tax that every small market team dreads.

    • Vlad says:

      Well, there are talks about sacrifice. Obviously, besides players making that sacrifice, the owners have to make one and PAY luxury tax to keep as many players from this group as possible.

  48. marlon green says:

    Harden and Ibaka should not expect maximum deals since they didn’t show up when it mattered the most. They should also restructure perkins contract since he didn’t make all that much of a difference in the finals either.

    • QuestionMark says:

      At this point I honestly would trade Perkins, he wasn’t much of a factor against the Heat. I think OKC should move Ibaka to the C spot and trade Perkins for a more of a offensive/rebounding PF, or if possible at all, trade Perkins and try to sign KG, I think KG would like to retire with another ring and Boston isn’t the place. KG can score, defend and rebound, if facing the Heat, KG will matchup well against Bosh. I think that can give OKC the edge to win the championship, and plus more toughness. But I’m not sure if KG is willing to pick winning a ring over more money. I think Maynor next season will make a big impact, especially with Fisher as a mentor.

  49. orlando says:

    i think james harden’ll leave the team because presty can’t resign both ibaka and harden, obviously harden is better than ibaka on the court so he will receive lots of money from others team and also harden will ask for 12 to 14 a year but ibaka 8 or 9 as maximum, OKC have to choose and harden will be too expensive! the article says the have to sacrifice money but harden, to stay in OKC should resign like 8 a year, too less for him, he could sign for 12 as less, but he won’t! money it is not the most important things in life but if you are an NBA player you know that you will work for 11-12 years, no more, so you have to capitalize the best you can.

    • Corey says:

      12-14 million a year from harden? That’s a maximum contract lol…

      • Thomas Montague says:

        @Corey, I would not LOL too much. If Joe Johnson can find someone to pay him $20M+ per year, I would think that Harden could find a taker at $12M. Who would you rather have between the two?

      • uoykcuf says:

        I think Toronto have some cap space, it’s not usual for them to strike some stupid deals.

      • nbafan says:

        Joe Johnson for sure!

  50. makrminator says:

    now cavs knows! dan gilbert should be blamed for letting james away. if only did he try to build a big 3 in cleveland maybe cleveland is celebrating championship party right now. : ) there was a rumor before that cavs is picking between amare & jamison. it’s obvious right? if you are going for the win, you should pick amare and start chasing another star. the combination of james & amare during that free agency bonanza should have lured big starts chasing 4 d ring. Instead they pick jamison, maybe because of lower pay. and I thought that time that cavs have enough cap space because they did not have other large paid stars other than james. you see, cavs basketball is rather a business that a shot to championship. and when james went away, dan gilbert is mad, guess why? it is not because d cavs r away from champ but rather his bank account that would decrease if his superstar will be out. he speaks of loyalty yet his loyalty is not enough. I think if he just put his loyalty on bringing a championship, MAYBE his players(james) and fans will put their loyalty on him too. This time they have Irving, now they should make him happy if they should want a title. : ) just a thought

    • Bballfanatic32 says:

      I agreee…I wonder how he felt after seeing Lebron own a ring and he PROMISED that Cleveland would have one before Lebron did…..what a joke

      • uoykcuf says:

        Yep, Lebron and a prime Amar’e will be pretty awesome and the “?” free agent will make it interesting as well. But I think dan learn this the hard way ans we should all forgive him. He’s probably kicking himself everyday after the “decision”

  51. Tarek says:

    Huh, I wonder if they will take the cut in pay just to keep the same core of players, or if Harden and Ibaka will try and test the free agent market and see what is their value. Some teams that may need to fill those positions will bid higher than other teams that will just try to match OKC just to get them separated and have a better chance at a deep run in the playoffs.Harden and Ibaka are entitled to look for their best situtation to secure their families future and their own happiness, just like any other professional in any other field. It will be intersting to see what happens next and the fan’s reaction to their desicions.

  52. Harden in Purple and Gold says:

    Harden should go to the Lakers. All else they need is Nash & Howard and we’re Finals bound in 2013!

    • Francisco says:

      trade kobe for harden

      • lbj says:

        trade magic johnson to larry bird 🙂

      • KOBE says:

        kobe didnt join two superstars to get a ring..lebron did

      • Nobody says:

        Kobe didn’t join two superstars because his team already has superstar (Shaq) / all-stars (Pau, Bynum) / 6th man (Odom) / great support (Horry, Fisher, Fox, MWP, Ariza). Am I missing anyone?

        Kobe wins his 4th and 5th ring because the current superstars have not matured (or their teams not good enough yet). I am confident to say Kobe will not win anymore titles. The way the Lakers exit last two playoffs show this is not a winning team….unless Bynum becomes Shaq and Kobe accepts his role as #2 when that happens.

        And face it, no team can beat Heat, Thunder, Spurs, Celtics, Lakers, Bulls in a series with only one superstar and all supporting cast. Every team has multiple superstars to win, either someone joins you (Kobe) or you join someone (Lebron).

    • dmontani says:

      yea and while they’re at it they can sign KG, trade metta for lebron and then sign the rest of the justice league so they can win 20 titles in a row, u kiddin me man?

    • Thomas Montague says:

      Just suppose they could get all of those guys: Harden, Howard and Nash, how would they pay them with Kobe earning $28M next year? Dwight Howard will earn $19M next year. With two guys earning $47M, what would you pay Nash and Harden, when the cap is in the high $50M range?

      I don’t think the Lakers can win with Kobe’s current contract. He is scheduled to earn $30.4M in 2013-14. Maybe after that, if he is still around, he can take a 66% and make it possible for the Lakers to win. I don’t want to hear him crying about not getting help after he has strangled the team with his current deal. I can’t blame him for taking the money, be he has to realize that he chose money over future titles. If you could get the Magic to swap Bynum for Howard, you will still have $78M in committed contracts for next season.

  53. Roy says:

    Saying Eric Maynor was the best back up point guard in the league is a huge joke and a lie.

    • Corey says:


    • dattebayo says:

      I thought that statement was a little off too. I don’t think Eric Maynor can distance himself from the field of backup point guards in any way. Off the top off my hat I can think of several players, that I would consider just as good as or even better players:
      C.J Watson (Bulls), Andre Miller (Denver), Gary Neal (Spurs), JJ Barea (Minnesota), Nick Collsion and George Hill (Indiana).

      I am not saying he is a bad player but the statement “(Eric Maynor) is perhaps the best backup point guard in the league” is just not true. He is probably the best backup pg who is injured at the moment or the best 3rd string pg in the league because I don’t think he would play before D-Fish…

      • Thomas Montague says:

        “Darren” Collison is a nice player, but does not posses the “elite” floor general skills of which Sekou speaks. The other guys that you mentioned are not even close to Eric Maynor. I think that many have forgotten how good Maynor is because he missed most of the season.

        There is a real possibility that the Thunder wiould have beaten the Heat if Maynor would have be available for the Finals. He is a really good point guard. If you think that C.J. Watson is better, then it is clear that you have not seen Eric Maynor on a regular basis.

      • finals! says:

        @Thomas Montague, dream on boy! durant/westbrook/harden didnt have a chance against the HEAT! and you think maynor was the missing link? go hug your momma and move on.

  54. Cedric says:

    Tell KD to hug his Mom

  55. GJ says:

    I agree. Amnesty Perkins, Start Cole Aldrich, who I feel is more athletic and showed great flashed of what he can do. Hell, or work a deal to somehow send Perkins for Omer Aski (but it would be hard making the numbers match)

  56. ko0kie says:

    harden is a great player.. he is so crafty and we can only wonder how good he can become.. sky is the limit for him.

    • Keith says:

      Harden is a good player with lots of upside but in the finals he was limited in what he could do. Whoever did the scouting report on him for the Heat did a terribly good job. Harden loves to go left and they forced him either to go right(which he usually didnt) or go left by moving further away from the basket. He also was called for the most offensive fouls Ive ever seen by one player. When Harden picks up his dribble heading to the basket he fakes left and goes right…someone was always waiting there for him…usually Shane Battier.

      What actually surprised me was that Harden didnt make any type of adjustment. If they want you to go right…GO RIGHT and see what develops. If theyre waiting on you to cross back over the your right on a layup pull up for a tear drop a short jump shot or finish going left.

  57. Mike (Cleveland) says:

    Amnesty Perkins. Voila!

    • dmontani says:

      perk is a beast, he deserves his pay

      • BBall fan says:

        @dmontani…. yes his a “beast” alright, and that’s pretty much that’s it. he can’t defense, he can’t score…. all he know is compliant.

      • lbj says:

        yes that’s really true he is physically a beast! his face looks like a beast!

    • Thomas Montague says:

      You can trade Perkins for a couple of role players. You do not have to amnesty him. There are people who will take him and pay his $8.5M average salary for the next three seasons. If if have to choose between keeping Perkins and Ibaka, I will take Ibaka. He is going to get better on offense and defense. Perkins is clumsy on offense. There is little upside there. I am not a slalary cap expert, but it seems to me that you can get two of three good role players for $8.-$9M per year. Trading Perk would allow them to shake up the role players while keeping the top 5, minus Perkns, together.

      But I am no expert. There might be logistic involved to prevent that from happening.

      • Keith says:

        Perkins joining OKC was the only bad personnel decision the GM seems to have made. You take a young atheletic team and add a supposedly great low post defender. Perkins has no offense, only average low post defense, isnt mobile and isnt a threat on the boards. He left a dead spot in the Thunder line up on both ends of the floor IMO. Little upside? I think youre giving him the benefit of the doubt… lol. I see no upside in Perkins. Ibaka is a beast on defense and he has shown that with time he can contribute offensively.

        *The fact that Coach Brooks went to Perkins instead of Ibaka at key points in games also calls into question whether he’s the best choice to lead the Thunder to a championship. Maybe he’s like Doug Collins…a great developer of talent but falls short when it comes to coaching.

  58. Jones17 says:

    Only thing about that is why should Harden and Ibaka take drastically lower pay when Durant and Westbrook took absolute maximums? There should have been a little give when they signed their extensions before.

    • Math Genuis says:

      I agree with you Jones, Miami big 3 = 50ish mil a year which is roughly the same as Durant (max), Westbrook (Max) and Perk = 50ish mil. I would love to see Harden take Miller money, Ibaka take Haslem money and Manor taking Chalmers money while watching each of the dynamic duo each making way more than these three combined. On a side not, I would love to see Nash quaterbacking Wade and James. That would be showtime at the greatest.

      • Corey says:

        Sorry, it doesn’t work like that… Harden is not going to take a pay cut of that degree just to stay with OKC. Players want to win but new players aren’t going to give up that large of their potential salary. They say a broke man who gives a dollar is worth more than anything a rich man gives because it was everything the broke man owned. The less money you make in the league, the more valuable your contract is. I don’t even think maynor is worth more than chalmers so I can see them getting the same contract though.

      • Thomas Montague says:

        You are wishing for unrealistic things to occur. If they want to keep the core group together, the Thunder will have to make sacrifices, as well. They will have to pay a luxury tax. Right now, the three players being discussed are due to make the following:

        Harden $5.8M next year $7.6M the following season.
        Ibaka $2.2 M next year $3.2M the following season.
        Eric Maynor $2.3 M next year $3.3M the following season.

        Harden will command 10M plus on the open market. Ibaka will command a huge increase, as well. Eric Maynor will be in the $4-$5M range, most likely. They should be able to keep him with no problem. There is no way that the financial advisors of those players will allow them to settle for much less than their open market value. The NBA career is too short and no one knows what the future holds physically for the players.

        I hope the Thunder can keep it together, but I don’t see how it can be done. We will see if Sam Presti lives up to the hype.

      • lbj says:

        do you really believe that james,wade and bosh took less money just to join forces. No it’s not Miami paying them at the back office without the NBA knowing off!! fools!!!

      • Math Genuis says:

        sorry guys when i said “i would love to see harden …..” that was sarcastic, hence “while watching the dynamic duo making ……”

      • Math Genuis says:

        To mister “LBJ” we are not fools, The big 3 are “taking” less money by the contract numbers of 17 ish mil a year each. But what everyone forgets is florida has the lowest taxes, So essentially 17 mil a year in miami can be the same as 20ish mil a year elsewhere after taxes

      • Keith says:

        The “BIG 3” really didnt give up much to join forces in Miami. One of the selling points of getting the guys down there was the fact that theres no state income tax!! Any money they “left” on the table was made up for in that regard. Harden and Ibaka shouldnt have to sacrifice..let the team take the hit since they know this group they have together now will own the west for years to come.

    • Math Genuis says:

      sorry guys when i said “i would love to see harden …..” that was sarcastic, hence “while watching the dynamic duo making ……”

    • go thunder says:

      they’re easily replaceable. guys like durant and westbrook come around once every 10 years

  59. supplanter33 says:


  60. Dane Holt says:

    Great article good read … I am curious to see how Maynor plays coming from injury

    • 4 mroe years says:

      this is great, you know, you cant just see the situation the same way as other similar ones. the similarities between such similar situations will have to play out next year. similarly, if this situation were not so similar to other similar situations, then we would be talking about something entirely different.

      • Beatriz says:

        What would constitute similarity in this similar situation?

      • SIMILAR says:

        As we all know, the similarity in this similar situation is directly related to mano other similar situations. I think we all know what these are so there is no need to spell it out. There is certainly going to be an event that happens in the near future that will demonstrate its similarity to these other situations.

      • hey NOW!!! says:

        Hey now! this sounds so similar to something I read recently. it had many simillarities to this situation and I think we will see a remarkably similar outcome here!!!

      • X2thaZ says:

        Yo dawg, I heard you like similarities, so we put a similarity in yo difference so you can look for similarities while differenciating

      • hey NOW!!! says:

        there is a similar situation known as “Buy Under The Table,” or, B.U.T.T. for short. using the B.U.T.T. principle, i think they sould pull it off.

    • Bongoman55 says:

      Trade Perk. Now you can afford both Serge and Harden’s extensions. Get a servicable center in the draft.

      • Keith says:

        Couldnt agree with you more. Other than Coach Brooks inability to make adjustments from game to game, Perkins inability to defend the pick n roll negated his only supposed benefit to being on the court to begin with. Trade Perkins and his “toughness” and find a center that can move his feet and maybe rebound to the tune of 12 boards a game?

    • differences says:

      I think that this is entirely different from many different situations. the difference lies in the fact that many other situations that were seen as similar are now looked at as different. the differences are too many to count.

      • LOL says:

        Similarities and Differences have me rolling over here…I can’t understand a damn thing y’all are saying, and I’m an attorney; good show!

    • John says:

      Players do have to choose between playing for more money on a less talented team and playing for less money on a more talented team. But can earning 5 million instead of 8 be called a sacrifice???????? What has the world come to???????????????????????????????