Thunder could eventually lose Harden, Ibaka
First, Harden. Next summer, he could be a restricted free agent, which means he could sign with any team, and the Thunder can match the offer.
What is Harden likely to get on the open market? He's a 22-year-old guard whose production has risen in each of his three seasons, to 16.8 points a game, 49.1 percent shooting and 39 percent 3-point shooting. He's got a knack for passing and isn't bad defensively.
OK, now Ibaka. Harder to simulate Ibaka's contract, because there's really no one in the league like him. No NBA player came within 100 blocked shots of Ibaka's total of 241.
Plus, Ibaka is 22 and getting better on offense. Just ask the Spurs.
Teams will pay for basket protectors. Theo Ratliff led the NBA in blocked shots in both 2003 and 2004; he made $10.1 million and $10.9 million those seasons and was on the downside of his career. Ibaka is going to be a lot better than Theo Ratliff.
-- Reported by the Oklahoman