NBA Rumors: James Harden Must Reconsider Interest in Joining LA Lakers

Oklahoma City just eviscerated Los Angeles in the playoffs, but one of the key players who helped the Thunder advance in five games is apparently considering jumping to the other side after next season.

James Harden, an L.A. native, is reportedly intrigued by the prospect of playing for his hometown and has not ruled out signing with the Lakers in free agency, according to ESPN’s Chris Palmer.

It’s a long shot and highly improbable, unless Harden forces the franchise’s hand.

The Sixth Man of the Year is set to make $5.82 million for the 2012-13 season and then become a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer of just $7.64 million to play out the 2013-14 campaign with OKC.

Unless the Thunder decline to extend Harden’s contract or (even more inexplicably) forgo the reasonable qualifying offer, he’s going to remain on the roster.  

It’s unlikely that the Thunder brass would allow its prized shooting guard to ever even come close to hitting the open market. It should be doing everything in its power to hammer out that long-term extension for the 22-year-old emerging star, which would quell any talk of Harden making a homecoming with the Lakers for quite some time.

Los Angeles would also have a tough time finding room for Harden. It has Kobe Bryant under contract through the 2013-14 season and the Black Mamba will be making a whopping $30.45 million that year alone.

There is no justifiable way the Lakers could pay Kobe that ridiculous salary and give Harden the minutes he deserves should they acquire him via free agency.

Even though Harden and Kobe can facilitate when the circumstances call for it, they are both natural shooting guards, so moving either out of position would create numerous problems and chemistry issues.

James Harden needs to worry about building a dynasty and forging a ...

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