James Harden open to signing with Suns

A flicker of hope for Valley basketball fans:

Former Arizona State star James Harden would consider signing with the Suns if his contract expires after next season.

“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 and his beard enjoyed breakout seasons in 2011-12, helping Oklahoma City reach the NBA Finals. The Thunder already secured stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to long-term deals, and by 2015, those two players alone will command $35 million.

– Reported by Dan Bickley of theĀ Arizona Republic