The amount of the deal, $48 million, will make it trickier for the Thunder to secure James Harden, who could command a maximum contract as a restricted free agent after the 2012-13 season. That could open the door for the Suns, who have maintained $15 million in cap space for next summer’s free-agency period and who have expressed interest in Harden behind the scenes.
Much will hinge on what becomes important to Harden. No one could fault him for chasing the money if a max deal (roughly $60 million over four years) is offered. But would the appeal of sticking it out with his Thunder teammates make him willing to stay for say, $52 million?
Harden’s mom lives in the Valley and the player has said he still has great affection for the area.
NBA BEATS - I sure hope so. I live in Mesa, AZ. So I would love to see Harden in the valley of the sun. He did attend college here. I don't think he can be a number one option on a team. But he is the perfect role player. And he definetly should be starting. He is to good to come off the bench.