The Oklahoma City Thunder probably hate having to address this issue, but the situation with Serge Ibaka and James Harden's being due for new contracts in 2013 is going to have to come to a head some time soon.
They're not going to be able to run around next season being this cute story of youngsters playing together in the college atmosphere. It's going to be the defending Western Conference champs with a couple of role players up for a pay raise.
This indeed is NOT amateur athletics. Here's the thing, though: Neither is college athletics, which has the model OKC needs to use in this situation. Bomani Jones explains it perfectly in the video shown below.
Where are all of those Oklahoma boosters when you need them? Aren't the great folks of Oklahoma about winning these games? Doesn't Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, have a minority ownership in the team. And isn't he used to doing shady business deals anyway?
This is not out of the question.
Read more about the Thunder at Welcome To Loud City.