New NBA trade rumors about a possible James Harden trade could continue to develop with the Oklahoma City Thunder. At the heart of the situation is the huge contract extension that the team just gave center Serge Ibaka, possibly eating up all of the salary cap room that the team might have had.
It looks like incentives could make the four-year extension for Ibaka worth $51.5 million in total. That's a pretty hefty chunk of change, rewarding him for finishing second in the race for Defensive Player of the Year during the 2011-12 NBA season. It means he will earn a little over $12 million per season on average when the extension kicks in.
With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook making max money over the duration of their own contract extensions, there isn't much room left to pay Harden. The Thunder could conceivably decide to pay Harden very handsomely, but that comes with the risk of a huge luxury tax to go along with it. That becomes dangerous territory for the front office if they want to keep this team together, though.
Last season Harden averaged 16.8 points per game, shooting 49.1 percent from the field. He also had averages of 3.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game, stats that look very good for a player coming off the bench. Harden is also fresh of winning a gold medal with Team USA, possibly showing the world that he is better than a player that has been forced to come off the bench for his career.
Do you think that these NBA trade rumors could lead to a James Harden trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder? What franchise could offer the Thunder a good deal for one of the better three-point shooters in the game? Do you think that the Thunder would simply pay the luxury tax to keep this team together?