Originally Posted by Metallikid
It's a shame. The market inflates people's expectations because of a few shitty contracts that GMs have to hand out because there's a minimum salary level and someone has to get paid. I don't know about you guys but in my mind eight million isn't that big a loss when you're already getting fifty-two. I'd trade his ass but quick; show him that when you're on a team that has a real shot at winning the 'chip you might *gasp* actually have to take one for the team to keep that chance. I'd like to see an OKC reporter ask Harden if he's as good a player as Durant or Westbrook and when he says no ask him why he thinks he deserves to get paid like them.
Sign him to the max extension (because someone else will anyways) and after this season ship his ass to Phoenix for Gortat and Scola. Thunder get better; Suns think they're getting better and Harden can spend his tenure outside looking in. Everybody wins (sort of).
Or y'know, a hard cap would be nice.
PS. I can't check on the Trade Machine 100% since Scola can't move until the end of the season but the Salaries look pretty close. The Suns would possibly have to throw someone else small in.
If the Thunder trade Harden, they're probably looking to get cheap talent/picks in return so that they can pull off the balancing act of surrounding Durant and Westbrook with talent while still paying little tax. That's why a rumoured deal for Kidd-Gilchrist and filler made some sense.
If they have to trade him, I think the Thunder want to dump Harden on a team that can absorb the salary and send back cheap talent. Taking back equal salary, or a significant chunk of it, for Harden, does not help OKC in most scenarios. They might as well just keep Harden and continue to play Perkins and Ibaka, rather than take Gortat and Scola.
Sure, Gortat and Scola might be useful players, but the Thunder's problem is the balancing act of making sure Durant and Westbrook have a good supporting cast each year without having to spend in the tax. Gortat and Scola don't help them avoid the tax. It just further complicates the issue of who to keep or get rid of in the frontcourt, which is something they might already have to address if Perry Jones plays well during his rookie year.