James Harden hinted that he could be willing to take less money to stay in Oklahoma City. "I love it here," he told reporters at his exit interview on Saturday.
Keep Harden for less than a max contract would be a huge boon for the Thunder, which must solve a financial jigsaw puzzle starting July 1 when Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor are all eligible for extensions on their rookie contracts.
More from The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry:
Harden is widely considered to be a top five shooting guard and potentially a third maximum-allowable contract level player. But he said Saturday that team success is more important to him than money and potentially making more elsewhere.
"This is something special here," Harden said. "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."
The debate has been on as to whether the Thunder would be better off with Harden or Ibaka as their third max player. What a coup it would be if they can keep both in OKC and happy.
Now for the bucket of cold water: When is the last time an NBA star (or, like, your neighborhood cooper, etc.) turned down a considerable amount of money for friendship? Business is business. We'll see, OKC.