Did OKC Thunder Make the Right Choice on Trading James Harden After All?

January 28th, 2016 by Adam Fromal Leave a reply »

With four consecutive All-Star nominations now under James Harden's belt, the familiar narrative will strengthen: the Oklahoma City Thunder made a mistake trading Harden away in 2012. 

If the Thunder had kept Harden—the 2014-15 MVP runner-up who is in the midst of another impressive individual campaign, even if the Houston Rockets have slipped—they'd have three of the league's 10 best players: Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. No team has a Big Three quite like that. 

The Thunder famously traded Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to the Rockets for Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin and a trio of future draft picks, favoring the upside of Serge Ibaka and financial flexibility over re-signing Harden to a hefty extension. 

Martin didn't last long in OKC, and Lamb now plays for the Charlotte Hornets. The draft picks haven't turned into anything more than Steven Adams and Mitch McGary—neither on par with Harden. 

Still, that doesn't actually make the Oct. 27, 2012 deal a mistake. 


The Ibaka ...

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