Originally written October 28, 2012 on Taking Bad Schotz:
As if my hate for James Harden wasn’t enough, the previous events just made things even worse. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Harden turned down a huge offer from the Oklahoma City Thunder and was then traded to the Houston Rockets. via itsalwayssunnyindetroit.com The deal that took place was Harden, Cole Aldridge, Lazar Hayward and Daequan Cook for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and three picks. And this is where the trade favors the Thunder in my opinion. “Houston sent two 2013 first-round picks (from Dallas and Toronto) to Oklahoma City, sources told Y! Sports, as well as a 2013 second-round pick (via Charlotte). The Thunder will receive the Toronto pick this year if it’s slotted Nos. 4-14. That pick also is top-three protected in 2014, top-two protected in 2015 and top-one protected in 2016.” Looking at the deal, obviously Harden is a big addition for the Rockets who really have no “go-to” guy and Harden will come in and become their No. 1 option for scoring. As for the other guys they received, they are really just role players and will probably not get much time. For the Thunder, they do lose one of their big name players, but I think they have plenty of room to breathe. With Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka still there, they will be fine. I actually think they will be perfectly fine. They just picked up Perry Jones III from Baylor who dropped in the draft for injury concerns and other questions, but remember this is a guy who had top-10 draft potential. If Jones III pans out, that will make the Thunder even more dynamic. But what really stands out to me is that they got a guy veteran scorer in Martin who can step in and fill the scoring role while the young guys grow. The points Harden scored will easily be obtained by Martin, and getting Lamb to be your fourth or fifth option until he develops is a steal. Martin still has a few good years left in him until Lamb develops, and don’t forget about those picks next year either. You can’t ever predict what pick in the draft they will be, but look back at the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers deal where the Cavs picked up a No. 4 pick. Anything is possible. But to break down why I think Harden made such a terrible decision is simple. Harden turned down a 4-year/$54 million deal to stay with top-3 Thunder and will move to the Rockets for a 4-year/$60 million deal and year after year of losing. I understand $6 million dollars is a lot of money, but would you really trade in a possible championship for it? The Rockets have no shot at winning a ring any time soon and I would probably say the Thunder win one sometime in the next five years. Maybe Harden would rather be the featured guy on a terrible team instead of the sixth man of the year on a championship contending team, but I think the demand out of Orlando by Dwight Howard showed that a championship is more important than being the No. 1 guy and losing. Score this trade 1-0, Thunder. What do you think? -Stanley
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