Harden close to an extension
According Hoopshype :
With the deadline fast approaching for the Thunder to come to terms on a contract extension for James Harden, a potential sliver of hope was heard Wednesday afternoon. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, speaking following an appearance at a Thunder Fit event at a local middle school, said the two sides are “getting close” on a deal that would keep the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in Oklahoma City. “We’re doing good. We’re making positive steps going forward,” Perkins said of the organization’s off-season. “We got coach (Scott) Brooks locked in. We got Serge (Ibaka) locked in. And we’re getting close with James, and we’re getting close to keeping our unit together. And we’re still hungry.”
Training camp is scheduled to begin Oct. 1, and Perkins said he is confident that when Harden returns he’ll naturally want to remain with the team that drafted him third overall in 2009 without anybody needing to convince him to do so.“Once James gets here it’s nothing to be said,” Perkins said. “He’ll see his family and that’s all he needs. So once he sees everybody’s faces that’s enough said.”
I know that's a burning topic... lots of people think OKC can not afford to extend Harden after the money they offered to Ibaka. But I think it's a mistake.
Let me explain, OKC for 2012 / 2013 has a total of inclusive around 67M. 65.7M are guaranteed on 16 players : Durant Westbrook, Perkins, Harden, Sefolosha, Cook, Collison, Aldrich, Maynor, Ibaka, Jackson, Thabeet, Hayward, Jones, and finally Orton and Thompson (non guaranteed deals).
If OKC extend Harden with a Eric Gordon kind of deal (on 4 years 58M $) :
OKC would have to pay for the next 3 years :
2013/14 : inclusives around 96M but only 74M guaranteed on 8 players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Perkins, Sefolosha, Collison, Jones)
2014/15 : inclusives around 86M but only 73M guaranteed on 6 players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Perkins)
2015/16 : inclusives around 70M but only 65M guaranteed on 4 players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka)
In my mind that's not an impossible financial situation. OKC Would keep its 4 major players till 2016 (durant's extension) and would still be able to complete its roster with cheaper options.
What would they have on options to complete their roster : veteran cheap FA willing to have a shoot to the ring, unsigned cheap Second-Round Picks (Yotam Halperin, Tibor Pleiss, Latavious Williams), hollis thompson (solid players with cheap rookie deal), perry jones (for 2014/15 on a rookie deal), 1st round draft pick with senior experienced players, draft international experienced players on 2nd round... European players are cheaper and still experienced. The NBA and the euroligue has less and less differences in the way of playing. So OKC should look at europe to bring some bigs to complete the roster (as they tried to do this summer with Andrey Vorontsevich or as the Pistons did with Vyacheslav Kravtsov) and anticipate Perkins end of deal (FA, Deal, Amnesty...).
NBA salary cap for 2012/13 is set for $58.044 million. Tax level is $70.3 million. If those lines are kept for the years to come (a salary cap around 60M and a tax level between 70 and 73M).
Okc would have to pay some luxury tax but they shouldn't extend the 77/80M tax level. The best solution is to keep the roster for next year (without Maynor, Aldrich, Hayward, Thabeet, Orton, Cook but with Thompson, Jackson, Pleiss and some FA cheap players http://www.hoopsworld.com/2013-nba-free-agents) and try to win the ring. If they failed they should think of getting rid of Perkins who is a 9/10M $ player... Perkins doesn't show the same importance he had in Boston's system. If he's amnestied or dealt he would allow OKC to keep it's core of players (Durant, Harden, Westbrook, Ibaka, Jones, Collison and maybe sefolosha) and still be able to bring some young blood.
All in all, I don't think OKC would be in a difficult situation to convince players to come cheaper and have bigger chances to win the ring. This summer showed us some really good players are going to get little money whereas they can be competitive (Landry ...?) and some others are going to be available for almost nothing (http://www.hoopsworld.com/2012-nba-free-agents : ivan johnson ? michael redd ? ben wallace ?).
Kendrick Perkins contact is whats stopping the resigning with his overpaid overrated self
I think this year will be a trial year for Aldrich. If he shows he can defend the paint like he did in college, I think it would be an easy situation for OKC to amnesty Perkins and let Aldrich start. This is also probably why they signed Orton and Thabeet, potential guys they can develop a bit this year to take up a back up role next year.
Also for the 13/14 season I added up that they'll have around 82mil in contracts with 12 players locked in, and taking in that Harden will make what Gordon is this year. 74mil with Perkins gone. And with Perk gone and existing guys stepping up in their role, it's not like he would need to be replaced by another quality FA. He would essentially be replaced by a draft pick, at about 1mil. 75mil isn't too bad for a perenial contender, especially when the last three years they've had the payroll of a rebuilding team but have played in 8 playoff series. they've probably banked quite a bit from that.
If Perk' is amnestied next year , OKC should ask Ibaka to become the master of the paint clearly and compliment him with another player.
Can Aldrich be that guy ?... I don't think. He has shown little progress and played terribly during the preseason. Thabeet is not enough ready to contribute and shouldn't ever be, Orton is far from being the guy they need.
That's why I think their "inside solution" should come from europe. Maybe Pleiss could help to bring some skills but not become a serious starter. The solution could be a player like Joey Dorsey (Olympiacos this year) or a proven euro big like Vorontsevich.
Next year the draft should be full of bigs. Some of them could slide at the end of the first : Jeff Whitney should be a serious target as a specialized role player (BS and defense).
Aldrich didn't play terribly during the summer league, it has rightly been said his game isn't right for such games, he is a complimentary player and was often asked to be the main guy.
Aldrich should be getting around 17 minutes per game this year if all is well, we'll see what he can do, he's been waiting for this opportunity for a while now.
Pleiss has said he isn't willing to come to the NBA yet; Vorontsevich isn't a proven big, he didn't even start for his team and he's a forward; Whitey is basically a poor man's version of Aldrich
Summer league games are not made for big men like Aldrich but he was very poor in D (against Plumlee) and always dominated by his opponent. Maybe he could prove more this year to convince OKC he will be the right guy to replace Perkins.
I was thinking of Pleiss for 2014/15 as a complémentary piece from the bench. I don't know what is the amount of the NBA buyout in his new deal.
Whitney is a better athletic player than Aldrich (wayyyy better !!). He's a better shot blocker too. Still very young and very raw. But a possible target at the end of the first round for next year.
Vorontsevich was not starting... but he was playing for CSKA with a loaded roster full of quality players who didn't start or even play big minutes, so it doesn't really mean anything. I talked about him as a potential target because of the talks he had this summer with OKC and his profile. He can be a stretch 5/4 who can complement Ibaka. OKC doesn't need a strong post player in the offensive end. A big able to shoot the ball is enough for them.
It's too late for Aldrich if you ask me. It's his third year and he hasn't shown any improvement in the summer league and struggled. I think thabeet will get minutes over him due to his size and length. Okc needs a legitimate backup center as neither guys are real options
I was all for Perkins being amnestied before the dwight howard trade but now I am not so sure. He is a terrible matchup vs Miami but in order to get to the finals they must beat L.A.with Howard. It is a tougher call now after the trade. I would still amnesty or trade Perkins in order to keep the Big 4 intact while allowing some financial flexibility. I am sure Ibaka can hold his own against Howard. Perkins sucks anyways.
I'm sure Ibaka is a better team defensive player (better D on the P&R, better helps...). And I think the only way to defend Howard effectively is to have a strong team defense (as the Lakers did against orlando in the finals).
I'm agree with you. Ibaka is a better solution to defend Howard (from a team point of view and with the harden / tax level situation still in mind). Some players like reggie Evans , chuck Hayes , joey Dorsey could bring some toughness / strength / post D to replace Perkins if he's amnestied.
The Lakers were able to succeed in doubling and using rotations on Dwight because leaving Nelson/Pietrus/Lewis/Hedo couldn't really hurt them. However, a team looking to double Dwight on the Lakers will be leaving Nash/Gasol/Kobe/Artest open. A lot harder to work with. Teams are going to have to be able to play those guys straight up, or get torched by as the Lakers have four guys who can take over games.
Perkins is still a vey tough, very good man to man defender.
And is it worth amnestying Perkins to pay another guy to do the same thing as him? Dorsey, Evans, Hayes arn't really upgrades. And Hayes is on a contract that isn't much less then Perk.
The issue is only money. If OKC could pay him they would keep him for sure cause he's a very good 1 on 1 post defensive player. A tough competitor and a former NBA champ'. But with all the money on the "big 4" and the need of a solid bench to compete, OKC would have to make choices.
Dorsey, Evans, Hayes are not upgrades but they are cheaper solutions that can bring some post D. Hayes at 5-6M is still 4M under Perkins (which could save lots of money with the luxury tax in mind).
Perk makes 17.6 in his final two years, while Hayes makes 11.68 over the same time. You still have to pay Perk his money AND then you pay Hayes his 11.68 which will still result in luxury tax payments. So basically no upgrade and you pay more. I understand what you're trying to say though, bring someone in who can do the same for less. But amnestying Perkins to pay a guy 3 mil a year to do the same job, I think it ends up being about the same price. Might as well keep the guy you have chemistry with. That's why I suggest bringing up someone from within the team. They're on the books for Aldrich anyway, might as well let him pay.
I may be mistaken, but I believe that Pliess has recently signed a multi year contract in Spain, so I don't think he will be able to come over for the next few seasons. Aldrich hasn't looked great statistically, but he hasn't really given enough time. He's big, active and can block shots and rebound and has shown the ability to hit a mid rang shot. He was a low risk kind of prospect coming out of college, and now he's only had two more years of experience behind guys like Collison and Perkins, who I'm sure have helped a lot. Judging how how they use Perk now, they would only need a C to play around 25 minutes, due to matchups and the fact tht Ibaka and Collison are solid options at the 5. He'll play Nazr's role this year and play about 15 minutes a game pretty regularly, and only then will we, as well as OKC, be able to gauge where he is in his development, and if he's ready to be a starter. When they moved up in the lottery to take him I think that's always what they had in mind; develop for a few years, then move into a bigger role.
Something to keep in mind with OKC is that they are doing the right thing by getting all these guys signed long term. If they don't choose to keep all of them long term Harden, Ibaka and possibly even Russ would have great value on the market (Young, proven guys with all-star potential, who can't run away in free agency), and could be easily flipped for a guy with two or three years still on his rookie deal. They arn't writing the checks yet for Ibaka or Harden, so this year, so they could easily give them a year with the team then deal one in the offseason. It all depends on who they seem the most valuable.
Pleiss signed a 4year deal with caja laboral but he has a buyout nba clause "for a fixed amount"
"I still want to go to the NBA. For me now, the best solution is to develop step-by-step. Now I will have the chance to play in the best European league and I looking to improve my skills. It is true that I have an NBA buyout for a fixed amount of money" said Pleiss. "The relationship with the Thunder who own my NBA right is great. We will be close and exchange info"
I don't think he will come next year but it's open for the next years (14/15 ?). He could there be a good back up option inside, behind a veteran.
The issue with Aldrich is the fouls... He can be a good back up for next year but the question is can he be a solid starter during 25 min, for season 2013/14 ?
Next year should give us some answer. Last year he was not horrible during the rare minutes he got. But during the preseason he was AWFULL making stupid fouls whereas he supposed to be a good defensive player.
He and Maynor won't earn big money (between 3 and 4M) but enough to be a financial problem (with the new Harden deal) if they can't bring more (Maynor is already almost gone now that Westbrook is extended).
I think they drafted Reggie Jackson for the reason of letting Maynor walk. Jackson is better compliment to Harden on the second team (better defender, good in transistion, still a solid shooter, and potential to be very good off the ball). If Jackson is developing well this year, I can see them dealing Maynor at the deadline, while they can still get something in return.
Last year's preseason, summer league, garbage minutes: these can only give speculation. Wait a few more months and see what Aldrich can do with regular minutes.
With Harden playing as 6th man when we all know he is a starter quality or better, I wonder if OKC might try to tie him up for the same roughly as they paid Ibaka. The good thing is they got Ibaka tied up first as he could have argued as a starter he was worth more than what they gave Harden. I'm a huge Harden fan but would not overpay him as he is that team's 3rd option but a very crucial one.
This will be a key year for Cole Aldrich as they would unlikely want to pay $3million plus to a big man well down the bench in 2013-14 when they have Thabeet, PJ III, Orton and could sign a veteran big for veteran's minimum if needed.
The Thunder are considered a smaller team but will generate revenue and so can maybe afford to carry the contracts for a year or two and pay a bit of luxury tax. Plus the other issue with Perkins is if he is amnestied, then he will likely go to another contender and possible rival for a cut price salary. I could imagine Sam Presti doing a lot of due dilligence to see who may be likely suitors for Perkins and if a team under cap in the lottery were interested then he could be waived more likely than say if Miami were after him.
Perkins could be traded too... Amnesty is only the last possible option if they want to free some space under the tax level (the real salary cap after all).
Some teams could be willing to trade for a defensive proven big man like perkins, with 18.5M over his last 2 seasons (2014/15). Not only rivals or contenders.
No one would be willing to take on his massive contract especially after his per of 14 was below the league average of 15 which shows he's an overpaid, overrated player
Teams under the cap get the first crack at amnestied players. They are generally rebuilding teams, not contenders. Someone team looking for veteran leadership would gladly pay him 1-2mil a year, so it's very unlikely he would get his choice.
It may seem steep to pay your third best player 15mil a year, but look at the top teams in the league:
Bosh makes 17mil this year
Ginobilli makes 14mil
Gasol is making 19, and may be their 4th best player.
Boston was paying their big 4 all in 8 digits just a few years ago.
If you want a ring you've got to spend on guys who can change the game.
The general consesus is Perkins is Theone that would have to go in rder to sign Harden to a worthy conract. Like i mentioned so why the negs.
I dont hold much faith in Aldrich really as more than a big body/banger type but only for 15mins maybe 20.
I imagine Harden will start this year though so atleast the team can see how that works with the different froncourt combinations they have.
Collison played better than Perkins in the playoffs anyway.
There is really no obstacle that is going to stop OKC from extending Harden. I'm pretty sure they will do whatever it takes to sign him. (and I support that completely)
The Thunder could always flog a first rounder one year if they needed a bit of extra money and there was no-one they fancied in that year's draft. Teams out East like the Knicks, Nets etc would probably dig into their pockets for one.
Plus Sam Presti has always been a marvel at doing deals and running the cap, is there any reason why say Harden could not have a semi Asik like contract whereby years 3 and 4 could be worth a lot more thus it doesn't clash with Perkins contract. If Asik can be paid nearly $15 million in year 3 what would the max be that Harden could be paid in those last two years I wonder, if they could get him to $15 million in year 3 and more in year 4 then he could easily take say $8 to $1o million in years 1 and 2 and still get a deal as much as Ibaka got.
For what it is worth, Aldrich's "per 36" stats last year were 12 points, 10 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 1.7 steals and 59% True Shooting %. If he could do those numbers night in and night out against starters for a complete game, he would be a legit starting Center. But he only played garbage time for 7 minutes a game last year. So tough to argue that the stats will translate to major minutes against starters. Certainly at this point Aldrich couldn't stay out of foul trouble for 40 minutes.
I don't think Perkins really serves any purpose except to hold down the fort against Gasol and Howard. Now that happens to be a really important purpose, but you are spending a lot of money for a guy who does not help your team unless you are playing an elite back to the basket big man (and not Dirk who can just shoot over Perkins from range).
You just can't pay your fifth best player $8 mil/year (unless you're the Knicks or Nets). Is it really that bad to force Artest to hit open 3s? Aside from April, he had a miserable shooting season. Perk's huge against LA but if they advance to face Miami and yet again start Perkins it's a huge mistake and everyone knows it yet OKC refuses to admit it.
I agree with shipping a first rounder for some extra cash. They got lucky with getting Perry Jones late in the first round last year. I don't see the same value in this year's draft at all but a team looking to compile draft picks for a blockbuster trade would be interested.