The countdown is on. As NBA media days opened across the country today, the Oklahoma City Thunder and talented sixth man James Harden have yet to reach a contract extension to keep the bearded one in Oklahoma City beyond this season.
The two sides now have 30 days to negotiate an extension. If they are unable to reach an agreement, Harden will become a restricted free agent when the 2012-13 season concludes.
Harden, the No. 3 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, has risen equally with his team. As the Thunder simply qualified for the playoffs in his rookie season, they then reached the Western Conference Finals, followed by an appearance in last year's NBA Finals. In those years, Harden went from playing 23 minutes and scoring 10 points per game, to playing 32 minutes and scoring nearly 17 points per game. Last season, he also grabbed four rebounds per game and averaged nearly as many assists per contest as well.
It is believed that Harden is seeking a max contract, which the Thunder may struggle to provide.