Youthful and on the rise, the Oklahoma City Thunder took the Western Conference in the NBA last season on their way to the NBA Finals. Despite running into the first act of the Summer of LeBron, the Thunder came away knowing they had what it takes to at least get to the NBA’s biggest stage. Their only conundrum? Who gets paid between Serge Ibaka, their defensive stalwart and 6th Man of the Year James Harden considering that both were restricted free agents going into next summer. Looks like Thunder GM Sam Presti has made that decision before it came time to pull the trigger.

Fresh off the Olympics where he helped Spain take the silver medal, Ibaka was rewarded with a new deal according to Yahoo Sports that extends his current deal for four years and $40 million. Knowing that Harden hasn’t discovered his jumper consistently since Game 2 of the Finals, Presti in a sense has already played his hand. Those who follow OKC knew there was possibly no way the Thunder would keep both Ibaka and Harden and Serge’s new deal all but effectively closes the book on The Beard’s time in America’s heartland.

Unless Sam works some magic and Harden inks for less money to keep the OKC train out West running along, now that the Lakers have told the rest of the league “we’re not done yet” with the Dwight Howard trade.

[via Yahoo!]

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