5 Teams Who Could Steal James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder

Kyle Ramos@Kyle_RamosCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2012

5 Teams Who Could Steal James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder

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    The future for James Harden in Oklahoma City is still highly in question and the possibility of him suiting up for another team in the near future is growing stronger and stronger.

    Though the Thunder would do anything in their power to keep their star sixth man, their financial situation may not allow them to satisfy his contract demands. If Harden did decide to walk away, he wouldn't be left out in the cold for long, as there are plenty of shooting-guard-hungry teams in the NBA salivating at the chance to get a player of his caliber.

    With that being said, let's take a look at five teams in particular who could end Harden's tenure in OKC with an offer he couldn't refuse.

5. Charlotte Bobcats

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    The struggles of the Charlotte Bobcats are well-documented and they have a lot of room for improvement, especially in the shooting guard area.

    Current starter Gerald Henderson is a decent player in his own right, but is far from what you would call a long-term solution. Harden, on the other hand, could very be just the guy for Charlotte.

    They could certainly afford him, since they aren't bogged down with too many expensive contracts, and the lure of being the center of a team's offense is appealing, too.

    With how desperate the Bobcats are these days, don't be surprised if they make a move if Harden hits free agency.

4. Orlando Magic

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    It is definitely rebuilding time in Orlando after they parted ways with their former superstar Dwight Howard in a dramatic saga that lasted most of the summer.

    Now without a real star to anchor their team, James Harden would more than do the job on a team that needs scoring and needs it bad. Orlando is also a pretty old team and none of their starters could be considered irreplaceable, so bringing in a guy like James Harden would give the fans something to root for in the future.

    The Magic do have a good amount of draft picks that they received in return for Howard, so that could be something for Harden to look at if he receives an offer from the Magic.

3. Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Grizzlies had a potential star in O.J. Mayo, but the two sides conflicted enough to the point where they parted ways and now Memphis is left without much to offer at the two-guard.

    Tony Allen is slated to start, but he is more of a defensive specialist and doesn't have much of a role on the offensive side of the ball. The Grizzlies have seen first hand in the playoffs how good James Harden is and what he can contribute to a team. 

    Though they have been a playoff team as of late, the Grizzlies still seem to be just a few pieces away from being an elite contender and maybe if they can steal Harden, they can be pushed over the edge and into the next tier of teams.

2. Phoenix Suns

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    After just missing out on stealing Eric Gordon away from the Hornets this summer, Phoenix is still definitely in the market for a shooting guard.

    While they are still rebuilding in the post-Steve Nash era, they still have some quality pieces in place with Kendall Marshall, Michael Beasley, and Markieff Morris. It's definitely more to offer than some of the other teams on this list (Orlando and Charlotte) and could be a difference maker in negotiations.

    Assuming the Suns don't try to find a temporary fix for shooting guard during the season, consider them to be major players in a possible Harden sweepstakes.

1. Dallas Mavericks

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    Dallas is still on the hunt to recapture the magic of their 2011 championship season, but it's getting hard to keep up with the young guns of the NBA, especially in a tough Western Conference.

    After getting swept by the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs last season, Dallas went back to the drawing board and made some big moves in the offseason, including the acquisitions of O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, and Darren Collison.

    Though they already have Mayo, Harden would still be a viable option for a Dallas team looking to make one last run at a championship with Dirk Nowitzki.

    Some salary arrangements must be made before they can make Harden a tantalizing offer in restricted free agency, but Dallas may be the leading contender to steal him from the grasps of the Oklahoma City Thunder.