Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 7/30/12

Having players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden is great for the Thunder but is does come with a rather large price tag that could break up the trio.

See the Thunder are in a pickle when it comes to the future of Harden. The team already locked up Durant and Westbrook to long term deals which will cost the Thunder $35 million. And since Oklahoma City is a smaller market in the NBA, the team may not be able to keep Harden and his beard coming off the bench.

But if OKC doesn't keep Harden after next season when his contract is up, then the Phoenix Suns would be a nice destination according to the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.

"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."

Harden played at Arizona State so it would be sort of a homecoming but you got to think OKC will do everything possible to keep Harden coming off their bench for years to come.

However, it's not just Harden who's contract is up soon. Defensive ace Serge Ibaka will also be a free agent after next season thus putting OKC in a bigger bind. Will they have enough to keep both? If not, who goes and who stays?

Now it be great if Harden would sacrifice financially if he wants to reach the NBA Finals again but after having a solid season, he could entertain a large pay day with another team like the Suns. And to make it a bit more attractive for James to leave, Phoenix is clearly in a rebuilding stage. There, he could become the face of the team and step out of the shadows of Durant and Westbrook and show he can be a starter and a corner piece for an NBA squad.

But if any GM in the NBA that can pave the way for OKC to keep Harden despite their luxury tax issues, would be Sam Presti so don't hold your breath just yet Suns fans. Moreover, Harden does make it clear that OKC is where he wants to be.

"The kind of support we have in Oklahoma City, it's the best in the NBA," Harden said. "Phenomenal. Beards in the crowd, the whole nine (yards). The city is really something special."

But for now, Harden is playing for Team USA at the London Games so I am sure he is quite focused on securing another gold medal for the US and one for him as well.

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