James Harden will be a free agent in 2013 and there’s going to be a world of heat around the decision for the Thunder to retain him or let him free. He’s going to get max offers. If he doesn’t take a paycut to re-sign, the Thunder can’t afford to retain him if they want any future flexibility whatsoever, something they’ve always treasured. But as is usual with anyon eable to even sniff free agency, the talk has started about possible destinations.
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic did his due diligence in asking the former Arizona State star if he’d consider a return to the desert he calls home when able to make the decision.
“Yeah,” he said. “Of course. I love it there. My mom lives there still. So that’s definitely my second home as far as my comfort level and going to school there. But obviously, I’m with the Thunder right now and what we have is special.”
“That’s out of my hands,” Harden said. “That’s not my decision. That’s the front office. I’ll let them decide that.”
via James Harden says he’s open to signing with the Phoenix Suns.
If you asked James Harden if he would consider living on the moon for a max contract, the answer is yes. If you asked if he’d consider signing with CSKA Moscow, the answer is yes. If you asked if he’d consider signing with the Bobcats, the answer is yes. The probabilities are in that order, but still.
For what it’s worth, a Dragic-Harden-Beasley-Scola-Gortat lineup would be downright spectacular. After failing to get Eric Gordon when the Hornets matched, that would be a monstrous get for the Suns.
Harden’t going to get these questions and this is going to be his life. He’s handling it the right way. “Love where I’m at, we’ll deal with it when the time comes.” The end. But he’s going to get offers. The question is whether the Thunder are willing to let him go.
One thing’s for sure.
They’ll consider it.
Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.
Pacers fans delivered.
They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.
Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.
The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.
“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”
Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.
Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.
Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):
This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.
Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.
He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.
Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.
So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.
Sam Amick of USA Today:
Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency
Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.
There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.
Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.