Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 6/25/12

There will be no shortage of interest in James Harden’s services if he becomes a free agent after next season. The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year could go to of number of teams across the league and be one of their go-to guys and possibly their best player. In Oklahoma City, Harden has a very specific role. Without him playing that role, the Thunder would not have made it to the NBA Finals this season. According to Harden, it’s a role he is comfortable with and hopes to remain in for years to come.

“I’m focused on several other things right now,” Harden said according to ESPN.com. “But when the time is (right), they’ll figure (out a contract extension) and it’ll be done. This team is like a family. Like, we’re really brothers. We hang out most of the time every single day. You won’t find any other team like this. I love it here.”

With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook already two of the league’s biggest stars and both only 23 years old, you have to imagine this team is just getting started. If Harden wants to continue to ride it out, no one would blame him. He should, however, be careful about setting the bar too high.

“This is something special here,” Harden said. “A dynasty is being built here. So we’re winning, we’re having fun and we’re brothers. The other stuff, you can’t buy it.”

While he is technically a “sixth man,” Harden averaged 16.1 points per game and over 31 minutes in both the regular season and postseason. He is hardly a “bench player” in Oklahoma City and his beard is beyond famous around the area. As for the dynasty talk, the Thunder could very well be headed in that direction. But until they have actually won something, Harden should keep that word in the holster.

H/T Black Sports Online
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

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