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Phoenix Suns

Updated Oct 2, 2012 - 10:39 am

James Harden prefers to stay in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka (9), Russell Westbrook (0), James Harden (13) and Kevin Durant (35) pose for a photographer during their NBA basketball media day in Oklahoma City, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

When the Phoenix Suns missed out on free agent shooting guard Eric Gordon over the summer, many hoped the team would be able to land former ASU star James Harden the next offseason.

One of the best young players in the game, Harden seems to have a skill-set that would be a perfect fit in the Valley of the Sun.

And, with his familiarity with the area, one would think there'd be mutual interest there.

Maybe not.

According to an interview the 23-year-old did with the Oklahoman, it appears Harden would very much like to re-sign with the Thunder when given the chance, saying "Of course I want to be here" when asked about staying.

One advantage the Suns may have had over the Thunder, though, was an ability to offer a max-level contract. The Thunder have made big financial commitments to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, and may not be able to do the same for Harden.

However, it turns out the former Sun Devil may be willing to take less money if it means staying with the only franchise he's ever known, in large part because he feels like he and his Thunder teammates have formed a brotherhood and he does not want to break that up.

Harden repeated his willingness to sacrifice to stay with the Thunder, asserting that a max contract wasn't a necessity. He even went so far as to say he believed a deal would be done by the Oct. 31 deadline.

"That's why I'm not too worried about it," he said.

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