|James Harden wants to get paid. (Getty Images|
It's pretty clear Harden is a max-extension kind of player, but there was a feeling, largely based on his comments, that he might take less to remain with the Thunder.
“This team is like a family,” Harden said in June. “Like, we're really brothers. We hang out most of the time every single day. You won't find any other team like this. I love it here.
“This is something special here. A dynasty is being built here. So we're winning, we're having fun and we're brothers. The other stuff, you can't buy it.”
That could have made it seem Harden would present the Thunder with a little hometown discount, something the organization would definitely appreciate given the future luxury tax implications if Harden were inked to a max deal.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Kendrick Perkins indicated that the Thunder are "getting close" to an extension with Harden, but according to reports, that's not the case. Talks are ongoing and continuing, but a deal certainly isn't imminent.
Oklahoma City has until Oct. 31 to get an extension done for Harden, otherwise they'll absolutely be staring that max extension right in the face. Given the current NBA marketplace, Harden will get one from somewhere (Phoenix, Dallas, Houston), and it would be one that would be very difficult for OKC to match.
Harden has to understand that if he truly wants to remain with the Thunder, as he's said over and over, his best chance to do so will come via an extension before the deadline. Much like Serge Ibaka did just a few weeks ago.
Otherwise, he'll have to be starting over with a new family and trying to build that dynasty somewhere else.