For us to keep Harden and Ibaka, they are going to have to sign for less what they could command as RFAs. Do you know if there are rules that prohibit endorsement deals being included in contracts to help make up that difference? Something like Chesapeake agreeing (in the contract) that they’ll pay Harden or Ibaka a certain amount to do commercials for them or something? I’ve never heard of anything like that being included in a contract, so I assume it’s not allowed, but thought I’d ask. — Tim H.
That’s a really interesting idea, but yeah, you definitely can’t do that. At least in terms of contractually agreeing to do it. But the whole corporate sponsorship thing is still the top thing that a small market like OKC lacks in comparison to other larger ones. There’s just not a ton of opportunity to make money in commercials and ad campaigns in Oklahoma City. KD has his big national deals with Gatorade, Nike, EA Sports and Panini, but other players aren’t going to find those dollars quite as easily.
And with a player as marketable as Harden (you know, with the beard and all), you’d think companies would be swooping him up for sponsorships. Maybe that’ll happen soon. And if so, that type of stuff could be incentive to take a little less when it comes to an extension.
But that’s mostly wishful thinking. Because when it comes to money, you try and get the most you can on your contract, and then you get the most you can with your sponsorships. There’s not a lot of give and take there.
I agree with you that if you have to choose between Harden and Ibaka, you choose Harden. I doubt that Harden gets anything less than $13 million a year, and I can’t see Ibaka taking less than $11 million. I was wondering what you thought of this trade for Ibaka. Ibaka for Jason Thompson of Sacramento, and two future first rounders. I think this deal makes sense from the Thunder perspective. — John K.
It’s not a horrible trade idea, in that Thompson just signed a five-year, $30 million extension with the Kings. He’s a nice rebounding power forward with good size and decent pick-and-pop ability. Which is what furthers the point that replacing Ibaka appears to be easier than replacing Harden. You can find solid size at power forward on the open market. You’re not going to find a player that literally replaces Ibaka, because you’d have to spend big to get that. I’m not saying Thompson equals Ibaka. But in terms of at least adequate production, it makes some sense.
As John pointed out in answering his own question in the email, Thompson isn’t anywhere close to equal talent value to Ibaka, but you’re looking at a cost effective player here. Not a fair talent swap.
Plus, the league is going more and more to the smallball lineups. Which means KD could eventually become a full-time 4 in the future. I think the preference would be to play Ibaka at center and just dump Perk, but that depends on the dollars lining up.
But while trade ideas are fun to toss out and something like this seems kind of reasonable, I don’t see the Thunder dealing Ibaka (or Harden). Either they get re-signed or they don’t. Grabbing a somewhat suitable replacement would be good and two first round picks would also be good. And the Thunder have some potential replacements already as part of the system in Perry Jones, Latavious Williams and Tibor Pleiss.
Go ahead though. I know you want to suggest YOUR trade idea. Here’s mine: Lazar Hayward and cash considerations for a downtown Smoothie King. Make it happen, Presti.
Looking over the Thunder roster, the only player that could really be amnestied by the team is Kendrick Perkins. I don’t see them doing that because of what he means them and any replacement player wouldn’t be much of an improvement. My question is this: can the Thunder somehow trade their amnesty clause to take advantage of it if they decide they aren’t going to use it? I think there is a clause that only players signed before 2011 can be amnestied so they can’t sign someone to a new deal and then use the tag after a season or two. They also don’t seem like the kind of team that would amnesty someone just to use it. — Greg O.
You can’t trade your amnesty provision, but that was actually something a lot of people thought would be a cool addition to the rule when it was made. Because the amnesty is basically a get-out-of-jail free card for bad contract, something the Thunder don’t expect to have many of. Potentially, it could come in extremely handy if used on Perk and the dollars work out to retain Ibaka and Harden. But we’ll see on that.
Other than Perk, the only realistic candidates to use it on would be Thabo or, gasp, Nick Collison. But it’s highly, highly unlikely that would happen to either.
Why wouldn’t the Thunder do a Dwight Howard deal? — Dan T.
It’s simple: Because the Thunder aren’t one of the teams he’d re-sign with. So if you trade key pieces to get him and he’s only in OKC for a season, that would a substantial waste. If he’d agree to an extension in OKC then you’d have to consider it, but then again, Howard has shown what kind of person he is through all this garbage and does a guy like that really fit the culture of this organization?
What channel is the game on today? — Everyone
Nickelodeon. At midnight. Check it out.
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