James Harden

For all the Oklahoma City Thunder followers worried about whether the team will be able to afford a new contract with the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, there’s one person who doesn’t seem fazed by it: James Harden.

Harden heads into this season as possibly the odd man out in the Thunder’s young nucleus. Like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka before him, he’s eligible for his first contract extension and would become a restricted free agent if he doesn’t get a new deal by next July.

The difference for Harden is that small-market Oklahoma City, approaching the salary cap with all the others already locked into long-term deals, may not be able — or willing — to pay the luxury tax likely to come along with Harden’s price tag.

“Everything will figure itself out eventually,” Harden said at the team’s preseason media day Monday. “Right now, training camp is starting. I think everybody is excited to be here and just to enjoy each other’s company. We really missed each other.”

– Reported by the Associated Press