Perkins Report: Thunder Close On Harden Deal?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Might things be heating up between the Oklahoma City Thunder and their prized sixth man James Harden regarding negotiations for a contract extension?

That’s what Thunder center Kendrick Perkins told the Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry today after a speaking engagement in the city, stirring hopes that something could get done sooner rather than later:

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, speaking following an appearance at a Thunder Fit event at a local middle school, said the two sides are “getting close” on a deal that would keep the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in Oklahoma City.

“We’re doing good. We’re making positive steps going forward,” Perkins said of the organization’s off-season. “We got coach (Scott) Brooks locked in. We got Serge (Ibaka) locked in. And we’re getting close with James, and we’re getting close to keeping our unit together. And we’re still hungry.”

Harden is eligible to receive an extension of up to four years. Harden is believed to be seeking a contract worth the maximum allowable amount, which could be $58 million. But with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook already inked to maximum deals, as well as Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins recently signing high-dollar extensions, the Thunder might not be able to afford to keep Harden with more severe penalties for teams that exceed the tax level set to kick in prior to the 2013-14 season.

If Harden doesn’t sign a deal by Oct. 31 he will become a restricted free agent next summer, which would allow him to hit the open market but gives the Thunder the right to match any deal he might be offered.

Training camp is scheduled to begin Oct. 1, and Perkins said he is confident that when Harden returns he’ll naturally want to remain with the team that drafted him third overall in 2009 without anybody needing to convince him to do so.

“Once James gets here it’s nothing to be said,” Perkins said. “He’ll see his family and that’s all he needs. So once he sees everybody’s faces that’s enough said.”

This news comes on the heels of a far less optimistic report from Monday, when Thunder general manager Sam Presti wasn’t nearly as optimistic in his assessment of the current state of negotiations between the franchise and Harden’s camp.

Presti is probably appreciative of the work Perkins is doing updating the public on where things stand. But something tells us he’d prefer that no one speaks for the organization in this matter before he does.


  1. smith says:

    Harden should start over sefalosha, then trade sefalosha and maynor for a better center and make perkins a sixth man

  2. Monty says:

    I say Keyon Dooling,Jason Collins for Harden to come to the celtics….

  3. jrwakka says:

    i think they should let go harden. make maynor starting PG and slide westbrook to SG..

    • Bob says:

      U don’t really thing that maynor has the potential to start at pg in this league? He lacks a consistant shot, generates unnecessary turnovers and doesn’t have the needed court vision to distribute the ball to the right guy at the right time. He is quite solid, but that’s it.

      Westbrrok needs the ball in his hands to create his shots. He worked on his shot, but having two guards that are not able to hit a trey won’t help the Thunder. You won’t see a backcourt of Westbrook/Maynor on the court.

  4. the profit says:

    Oklahoma blew it. Their one and only chance at winning the title went up in smoke. Teams have a hard time making it back to the finals. I think the last teams to do so were the teams who won most of the championships….Lakers and Celtics. They blew it, what a debacle by Hardin.

  5. kenny says:

    I think they need to get a player like Harden just a smaller name because there are players out there that does the same thing and are cheaper because there name arn’t as big

  6. Jeigh Joans says:

    I hoe it falls through and they let him go be a Starter somewhere else. He has too much ability to play second fiddle to Westbrook.

  7. RememberThisDay says:

    Shane Battier made more impact of the bench in the finals than Harden, i think Hardens needs to show more consistency this season coz lets face it we guna have to give up Perkins & Maynor ( two solid players who bring it every night) for Harden

    • defdun says:

      Tru that! Harden will need to step it up and show more consistency, coz in a nutshell, he could have made the difference in the Finals, but he didn’t.

    • Rich says:

      Perkins ? Maynor ? both are fake wannabe tough guys ! Release these 2 clowns and there’s no more reason to hate OKC !

      • seriously? says:

        Do you even know who Maynor is? Clearly not. So you can from now on, he’s a point guard whose job isn’t to be a ‘tough guy’, soft spoken, and the most consistent guy on the team. Losing him to an ACL last year was a big blow to the team.

  8. Steven says:

    LoL Kendrick Perkins is going to wind up getting traded!