From the outside looking in I heard that Harden and Westbrook were not the best of friends.
Meant Serge Ibaka
Wish Harden the best of luck in Houston. Lord knows he'll need it.
I have to agree with KT on this one. Harden will be eligible for a five year contract in Houston, which would put him in the 75 to 80 million range if Houston chooses to give him five years. As to value though I agree with Presti. The value of Harden to the Thunder was not 60 million. Westbrook is making in the 13.5 million range this year and even with a raise next year he and Harden would be fairly close in salary. That could be a big time chemistry problem in itself. Let's see how Harden does in Houston with lesser players around him and having the pressure to be the top producer and then determine Harden's value.
Thoughts on the James Harden Trade | Thunder Rumblings
Darnell has some interesting thoughts and I agree with quite a few of them.
The Thunder put their cards on the table months ago when they signed Ibaka. While I admit I was surprised, and a little disappointed, to hear about Harden's trade, the numbers never added up for them to give him what he wanted. Heck, I'm not sure they really added up for them to give him what they offered.
All other things being neutral, I'm not sure in five years if Harden will look back and see if calling Presti's bluff will be a good idea. No question, he'll get the money - $78M over 5 years. But, in the exchange, he'll see smaller crowds, higher expectations, and head up a team with significantly less overall talent. I guess any athlete with NBA caliber skills wants to see if they can lead a team, but I just can't see Harden doing for Houston what (by analogy) Durant does for OKC. He won't be able to disappear for them on an ongoing basis the way he did in the Finals last year. From the tone of that article, I get the impression Harden's agent convinced him Presti was bluffing with the "you have one hour to decide" business. I'm no sports business expert, and certainly not when it comes to the NBA, but from what I've read about Presti, you don't mess with him.
Oh, well, its all a matter of differing perspectives. I have a tough time even fathoming that kind of money, let alone turning it down because it wasn't enough. Computer stuff pays the bills pretty nicely, but not quite that nicely.
I certainly don't wish him any ill will or harm; heck, any of us would likely take as much money as we could. I'll be honest enough to say that I just hope, someday, Harden thinks - at least for a minute - "gee, had it pretty good back in OKC..."
As devastated as James Harden might be, the former Thunder star is getting the money he wanted | NewsOK.com
I'm really going to miss him, and I wish him nothing but success. The negativity from some towards Harden has been astounding to me... And even a speculative, made-up beef between him and Westbrook afew posts up (it's well documented that they're friends). He has been a great representive for the city and state. He says nothing, but positive things about our community. He gave everything he had for our team. And he was the first Thunder draft pick ever. He also, by the way, was integral to our Finals run. I do not think we win the Spurs series without him. I think he'll regret what happened yesterday, but I think Presti and the Thunder will also...
And BTW, here's some video of Harden's replacement Kevin Martin, a.k.a. K-Mart:
Yeah I was surprised when I heard this mostly because I assumed there'd be a middle that Harden and the Thunder would agree upon. Also because Harden is like 23 and he's already this damn good. People can say "he played against bench players" but yeah he's still really good and close to a franchise player. He really really saved the Thunder's a*ses a lot especially when the Thunder would go into a third quarter slump sooner or later he'd step up and score. Then KD score's then here comes Westbrook with a steal and a dunk it was like listening to a jazz session or watching someone make beautiful picture or sculpture. I think this is something that people will look back on and talk about how great this team was and how great they could have been. They're still great but Harden had just such a high ceiling (I know I'm overacting). Damn I'm really gonna miss him and it's gonna suck to watch Rockets highlights this season.
Reading Harden's tweet yesterday it seems like the trade might have caught him by surprise a little bit.
tremble and carlson .. did not think the thunder could offer 55.5 mil ...
the thunder owners stepped up in a huge way ....
i don't think Harden is a "max" player and i bet that presti didn't either .... (yes i know harden would get offered the max by teams next summer)
this puts the thunder in great shape going forward ... maybe and i repeat MAYBE they are not as good this year .... but they could be much better off down the road ..
and to those saying that we overpaid Serge ... no he took 10+ mil less than he would have gotten on the open market ..
Another way to look at this, Harden was OKC's third best player, he was traded for Houston's best player. K-Mart has a much higher PER than Harden does. For that matter, K-Mart is just behind KD in PER.
Keep in mind, for the most part Harden lit up the opponents second unit, K-Mart was lighting up his opponents best defender on the first unit. K-Mart will really go off on an apponents second unit more so than Harden did. And defensively, he'll be going against the second unit and should be effective.
Let's see this play out, I believe we'll do just fine.
But, they both played about 31 minutes, how many minutes were Harden's against lessor players (second units) ? I'd guess 80% of Harden's minutes were against lessor competition. K-Mart rarely played against the other teams second unit.
I think this will be a positive....the other issue is Harden's party animal culture being in question too.
I enjoyed going out to his bday celebration...
Some thoughts that initially cross my mind about all this:
1. If Harden had played the last 4 years with the Dallas Mavericks, was 6MOY and played exactly as he has in OKC the past 4 years, he's worth no more than $11.5M/year for OKC. The fact that Presti extended ~$13.5M/year to Harden shows a lot of commitment to Harden. And I think growing up in OKC made that extra $2M/year worth it...but I don't see how you can justify paying a player $4M/year more than the max you would consider paying him under other circumstances.
2. I've said since the day we knew this Harden/Ibaka thing would be an issue (starting in the 2010/11 season) that if both players are playing at an equal level (and admittedly, Harden is at a slightly higher level than Ibaka right now, though Ibaka's ceiling is higher) you have to take Ibaka.
Why? Because of Kevin Durant. KD is a 3 that can play both the 2 and the 4 incredibly well, but his most natural talents are more suited to playing the 2...This makes Harden more expendable than Ibaka. Furthermore, Russell Westbrook is also a fantastic 2 guard. So Harden has 2 all-stars who can pick up the slack at his position. Ibaka? Nobody on the team can fill in for Ibaka when he's not doing what he does best.
3. The most important and best way for the Thunder to mitigate the loss of James Harden is not by replacing him. It's by fixing the holes that he covered as a player (and that were exposed by Miami in the Finals). OKC has to has to has to establish an offensive system that can create without the ridiculous athleticism of Durant/Westbrook/Harden. They showed flashes against San Antonio but seemed to move away from it against Miami (though I have a suspicion that Miami simply disrupted the system with fantastic defense). OKC is still in a position to win it all this year if, as it should, everything about the team improves. Arguably every player on the team should play better than they did last year except for Collison (who is probably exiting his prime at this point) and maybe Perkins (who will likely maintain his level of play). The idea that Durant and Westbrook still have a few years before they hit their stride should be comforting to OKC fans who think that the entire season is lost. Unfortunately, Miami should be better this year as well, and the Lakers got pretty damn stout.
4. Maynor and PJIII's jobs are now more important. Martin should be pretty helpful as a stop gap for Harden, but he likely won't be enough based on learning-curve and the fact that he would have to be resigned for the future. Speaking of Maynor, if he proves himself worthy this year, we can now reasonably afford resigning him. Better still is the possibility that Jackson shows himself to be a quality back-up PG and we can use Maynor to leverage a good trade.
5. The Most important thing in all of this is seeing how committed Presti is to the long term. This trade makes 2 things apparent: 1. Presti is in OKC to stay. I say that because Presti just hurt the possibility instant gratification (the chance of winning a couple titles over the next 3 years) for point 2. OKC is leveraged for so much flexibility from this trade. OKC can develop long-term plans with more ease, and they can make more low risk/high reward type investments in future players. OKC fans may be moaning the loss of an Icon right now, I myself am...but the OKC Thunder won BIG BIG BIG with this trade.
In 4 years, OKC is going to have to make some major moves to continue competing for titles. Simply put, that task would likely have been near impossible at that juncture after being battered by the luxury tax the previous 3 seasons and the very real threat of repeat offender making putting together a great roster impossible.
Keeping Harden was a lot like OU fans thinking they would blowout Notre Dame. It certainly was a possibility, and if things had broke just right, could have well become a reality. The probability, however, was never really that high. It's just disappointing when fairy-tale worlds end up being turned into dust.
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