Originally written on Hoops Manifesto  |  Last updated 11/19/14
The big news in the NBA world (other than the season starting tonight - YIPPEE!!) is of course the Oklahoma City Thunder trading away one of their "Big Three" to the Houston Rockets.  When James Harden and the Thunder ended up being a measly (relatively speaking) $6 million over four years apart contract negotiations, OKC thought they better ship The Bearded One out to Houston before he could bolt for nothing next offseason.   But the thing that has made my ears perk up over this trade is Houston GM Daryl Morey calling his new acquisition a "foundational player".  A player that the Rockets can build a championship team around.  Am I missing something here?  We're talking about James Harden, right?! Now don't get me wrong - Harden is a very nice player.  He can score without trying to force it.  He can set up teammates.  He's versatile enough to play both backcourt positions.  But James Harden is in no way a franchise player.  Hell - he was only considered the third-best player on the Thunder (although I would argue he is better than Russell Westbrook).  But the main reason you don't build a team around Harden is he isn't the type of player you build a team around.  He's a complimentary player, not the star.  He hasn't shown to be a "take charge" type of player on offense - he prefers to defer to teammates (easy to do when you have Kevin Durant and Westbrook on your team) and subtly pick his spots.  His skillset just isn't that of a superstar player.  He's no LeBron James.  He's no Dwight Howard.  Or Kobe Bryant.  Or Kevin Durant.  Or Dirk Nowitzki. Or.... you get the point.  He just doesn't strike me as being anything more than the second or third star on a championship contending team.  Not just now - ever.Yes, he's still young and he has tons of potential, but normally once a guy has made it through three seasons in the League, we know what type of player he's going to be.  Most "franchise" or "foundational" players have already shown their spots by then.  A guy doesn't just become a super-duper star because you gave him a max contract and deemed him "THE MAN".  And make no mistake about it - you need a super-duper star if you are going to win a NBA title.  And the only thing super-duper about James Harden is his beard.   
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cubs reportedly offer Jon Lester more than $135 million

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

Jeremy Maclin not happy with Riley Cooper’s contract remark

Broncos reportedly waive kicker McManus, sign Connor Barth

Report: Browns not committed to Brian Hoyer long-term

Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox officially agree to contract

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ex-NFLer passed out in Wendy's drive-thru, arrested for DUI

Ex-NFL DB Fred Smoot arrested on domestic assault charges

Jets’ Sheldon Richardson: ‘I didn’t get drafted to lose games’

Jose Canseco's fiancée Leila Knight breaks it off with slugger

Rex Ryan reportedly wants to start Michael Vick in Week 13

Tom Thibodeau: Derrick Rose must ‘get out there and play’

WATCH: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of NBA's first month

Sherman mocks NFL media policies in press conference

Why Packers' offense continues to evolve despite success

'Fire Idzik' billboard updated with suggestion for Jets owner

Watt buys pizza, shows gratitude to Houston firefighters, cops

College football's post-Week 13 Playoff projection

Which teams have the best shot at an undefeated season?

Infographic: Terrell Suggs' sack victims after notching 100th

Dude Perfect video features Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll

Rick Pitino 'played four white guys and an Egyptian' in blowout

NFL Power Rankings after Week 12

WATCH: James Harden had another lapse on defense

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Maclin unhappy with Cooper comments

Post-Week 13 CFB Playoff projection

What has Masai Ujiri built in Toronto?

How L.A. should replace Hanley

Lester, Red Sox still talking contract

Why each NFL team should be thankful

Could Kentucky beat the 76ers?

Greatest college football rivalries

LeBron on losing streak: 'I stink'

Report: Manziel, friends get in brawl

Tate: Loss to Pats was 'embarrassing'

Bill Belichick burns Dominic Raiola

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.