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Harden Confident A Deal Will Get Done

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

James Harden's name has not been signed on the dotted line but Oklahoma City Thunder fans should be breathing a little bit more easily after Monday's Thunder media event in Edmond.

The fourth-year shooting guard's contract has been the hottest issue surrounding the team this offseason. The team's ability to re-sign the Arizona State product was cast into doubt after the contract extension given to power forward Serge Ibaka last month.

But maybe the only person in Oklahoma City who doesn't seem worried that a deal can be reached is Harden himself.

"I have confidence in my agent and the organization to get it done," Harden said. "They know how important it is, so I'm sure it will be done."

Harden repeatedly told reporters that Oklahoma City is where he wants to be on Monday, and he even alluded to the biggest factor involved – accepting less money. Harden seems, at least in discussing it publicly, to be willing to sacrifice some of the dollars he figured to have coming to him as a restricted free agent in an effort to keep the Thunder's young, explosive core together.

"Everything will figure itself out eventually," Harden said. "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."

That close relationship with his teammates and the positive culture in the organization and the city seem to be major draws for Harden to skip out on a potential max contract and retain his sixth-man role in OKC. He made a point of saying that a max contract is not a goal of his.

"I think we've built a brotherhood here, a brotherhood these past years that's hard to break," he said. "Other teams, you're just teammates but we're really brothers. We hang out all the time. We push each other to work hard every single day."

Harden seems to be entirely focused on basketball and continuing to grow with his teammates in an effort to make a return trip to the NBA Finals.

He didn't at any point express concern that his contract would become a distraction, saying he is confident it will be done by the Oct. 31 deadline.

"I'm not too worried about it," Harden said. "Not at all."

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