The reigning Sixth Man of the Year says he doesn’t plan to be coming off anyone’s bench but Oklahoma City’s.
James HardenÂ said Saturday that he “loves it” with the Thunder and expects a contract extension to be worked out between his agent and Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti.
“They’ll do a pretty good job of working it out,” Harden said. “I’m focused on several other things right now. But when the time is (right), they’ll figure it out and it’ll be done.”
In his third season, Harden averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists while coming off the bench for the Western Conference champions and proved to be a key piece for the young and talented Thunder.
Harden, 22, said he recognizes the Thunder are in a good place, as Oklahoma City features a nucleus of 23-year-oldÂ Kevin DurantÂ who won the league’s scoring title and 23-year-old point guardÂ Russell Westbrook.
“This team is like a family,” Harden said. “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.”
As of July 1, Harden, along withÂ Serge IbakaÂ andÂ Eric Maynor, will become eligible to negotiate extensions to their rookie deals. The Thunder already have signed Durant and Westbrook to long-term deals and some wonder if Oklahoma City will be able to keep all of its talent together. Harden, however, cites the unique togetherness of the team as a reason why he might take less money to stay in OKC.
“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.”