With a looming deadline to get a deal done before the services of James Harden hit the restricted free agent waters, the Oklahoma City Thunder are nearing an extension with the 2012 Sixth Man of the Year, according to Harden's teammate Kendrick Perkins.
Perkins, reports Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK's Thunder Rumblings' blog, spoke recently at an event about the organization's offseason progress in general and ongoing dealings with Harden:
We're getting close with James, and we're getting close to keeping our unit together. And we're still hungry.
If Harden doesn't sign an extension with the team by Oct. 31, he will enter the restricted free agency pool next summer, allowing other teams to offer deals and Oklahoma City the opportunity to match.
But with mega-stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook already locked-in with maximum contracts and anchors Serge Ibaka and Perkins also signing pricey extensions, the Thunder are facing a difficult decision with Harden, as the NBA's harsher penalties for teams over the salary cap will start to get handed out before the 2013-14 season.
General manager Sam Presti remained steadfast regarding the team's interest in keeping Harden in Oklahoma City for the long haul, but, unlike Perkins, did not indicate how close a deal was to completion.
Presti, from Mayberry's report:
I know we'd love to have him here. I think James would like to be here as well. But at the end of the day, those situations, you have to find a way to make it work for everybody.