Thunder center Kendrick Perkins had hinted that the team and the reigning Sixth Man of the Year were "getting close" to coming to terms on an extension, but Broussard reports that the sides are "still talking", and that the max deal might be the sticking point. Harden's max deal would be worth $58 million over four years, and stick the small-market Thunder with an enormous luxury tax bill.
If Harden does not ink an extension before Oct. 31, he'll become a restricted free agent next summer. Locking Harden up to an extension would solidify the Thunder's core of young talent, as small forward Kevin Durant was extended in 2010, point guard Russell Westbrook signed an extension in January of this year, and power forward Serge Ibaka recently inked a new deal.
Harden averaged 16.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.1 rebounds off the bench for the Western Conference champs last season.