Found October 28, 2012 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
Perry Jones III
Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Lakers
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The first big dose of small-market reality has hit the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Before the Thunder even played their first real game following a trip to the NBA finals, the franchise parted ways with Sixth Man of the Year James Harden in a trade with the Houston Rockets, fracturing the team's core and substantially changing the second unit.
"We made several efforts to try to make this work," general manager Sam Presti said at a news conference Sunday.
"I think there's a point in every negotiation where you start to realize where things are lining up, and at that point you have to play the hand that you're dealt. I feel like as an organization, we've made some tough decisions. This one was right up there with them."
Presti said the Thunder made what was supposed to be a final offer on Friday, then approached him one last time before pulling off the trade Saturday night -- making sure that Harden realized he could be dealt if he didn't accept.
But Harden, who developed into one of the league's most dynamic shooting guards after being the No. 3 pick in the 2009 draft, still wanted more.
Oklahoma City already had All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook plus NBA blocks leader Serge Ibaka inked to long-term, eight-figure deals and -- even with an arena upgraded by taxpayer funds that's sold out for every game -- wasn't willing to offer him a maximum contract.
Presti said the Thunder made an "extraordinary effort" to keep Harden and side-stepped whether the team tried to low-ball Harden.
"That's for other people to determine, I suppose, and ultimately we'll live with that. We understand what we were able to do, and what we did, and the significance and the importance it made, especially considering the commitments that it would have taken our payroll to," Presti said. "Our ownership group was absolutely behind that effort."
Harden said Sunday he expects to sign a long-term deal with Houston before the regular season starts. He was saying the same thing about Oklahoma City when training camp began.
Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka all took marginally less than they could have demanded on the open market to stay in Oklahoma City but Presti suggested "the term sacrifice gets thrown around maybe too loosely." He said the Thunder didn't begrudge Harden for rejecting their offers.
"We're not going to judge anybody. We're not going to put anything on anybody," Presti said. "We're going to do the best thing for the franchise. In a lot of cases, in most cases, the players are going to do the best things for them. You hope that those things overlap, and we've been very fortunate they have overlapped in a lot of cases."
The Thunder simply aren't in a position to spend like the Miami Heat, who went over the cap to add Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis after beating Oklahoma City in the finals, or the Los Angeles Lakers, who added All-Stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to a lineup that already featured Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
"I think we all know that James Harden was a big part of their team. That goes without saying. He was a big part of why they made it to the finals," the Heat's LeBron James said. "They got a couple pieces back that are really good as well. But we don't know how it changes their team until they actually get out there."
Presti said the Thunder got more for Harden because they dealt him early enough that Houston could re-sign him before a Wednesday deadline to reach a contract extension.
Oklahoma City received guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round draft picks and a second-round pick in the swap, and also sent Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to the Rockets. Presti expects the draft picks to be critical to rebuilding quality depth at a low price.
The departure of Harden and, to a lesser degree, Cook and Aldrich rattles Oklahoma City's second unit that already lost veterans Derek Fisher and Nazr Mohammed in free agency. Backup point guard Eric Maynor will return after missing most of last season with a knee injury, with power forward Nick Collison the only other holdover from the second five.
First-round draft pick Perry Jones III and free-agent acquisition Hasheem Thabeet figure to move up in the rotation now.
Presti said the Thunder still consider themselves championship contenders -- but so does every team in the league when the season starts.
"With the group that we have, they've been through a lot together and they've won a lot of games together. So, for us, of course we're always going to feel like we've got a chance to do good things," Presti said. "However, I would also add that it's never been our approach to do a lot of talking about what it is we're going to do or who we are.
"I think we're at a point as a franchise where we have to do what we say."
BEST OF MAXIM
You may be waking up on this chilly Sunday morning, nursing a hangover from a Halloween party from last night, and realized James Harden has been traded to the Houston Rockets. You might be asking yourself “WTF” because that was the echoed sentiments across the interwebs last night, and some feel the Thunder may a [...]The post What A Stat Nerd Says About The James Harden Trade...
The Oklahoma City Thunder trading James Harden to the Houston Rockets should leave a bad taste in the mouth of basketball fans.
The deadline to reach contract extensions for the 2009 draft class is now less than a week away. Teams have until the end of the month to either reach a new contract with their players or allow them to become restricted free agents next summer.
One of the biggest names involved in these disputes is Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden. Harden is an interesting case because...
After coming so close in last season's NBA Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder aren't ready to start the new season by merely maintaining the status quo. That's why it's not all that surprising that, in an attempt to make an already strong returning team even stronger, the Thunder pulled off a nine-player deal late Saturday with the Houston Rockets, multiple sources...
So last night the Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder traded Sixth Man of the Year, and fan favorite James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb and draft picks. Rumor has it that this all escalated VERY quickly after Harden turned down a 4 year $52-53 mil offer, because Harden wanted a 5 year max deal.
While we can spend days discussing...
The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded away a huge piece of their young core as they sent shooting guard James Harden to the Houston Rockets.
The Thunder were trying to sign Harden to a contract extension, but when talks fell through they decided to ship away their young guard. The Thunder also gave up Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward and Cole Aldrich only to receive Kevin Martin and rookie...
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports the Oklahoma City Thunder have traded James Harden, Cole Aldridge, Lazr Hayward and Daquan Cook to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and "significant" future draft picks.
Reports surfaced to day that Harden had turned down a 4yr/$52 million dollar extension offer from the Thunder. He was asking for 4yrs...
Okay, Oklahoma City Thunder fans, step back from the lighter fluid. Seriously, you’re acting a little foolish. Look, as a fan of a team that just traded its star player away, I certainly understand that you’re pretty broken up over the Thunder trading away Kevin Durant yesterday. Wait no, not Durant. My bad, I meant Russell Westbrook. Wait, no. It wasn’t Westbrook either. It...
The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and several draft picks.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news and says the trade comes after the Thunder and Harden were unable to agree on a contract extension. The two sides were days away from the deadline for 2009 draft picks to sign an extension...
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...
Something I may have foreshadowed earlier to Serge Ibaka on twitter today, has come a reality on Saturday evening, when James Harden and Oklahoma City Thunder couldn’t agree on an extension it equated the Thunder to move fast. Per Adrian Wojnarowski and ESPN, the Thunder traded James Harden, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward and Cole Aldrich [...]The post Sucky Saturday: OKC Thunder...
The big news over the weekend was James Harden rejecting Oklahoma City Thunder extension offer, and then hours later being traded to the Houston Rockets. While, Ty Lawson of the Denver Nuggets isn’t the Sixth Man of the Year, he’s pretty damn important to the Denver Nuggets’ drive-and-kick system; a report surfaced contract extensions have [...]The post Contract Extension Talks...
Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit cover model Kate Upton did a recent photoshoot with some NBA friends, and it was spectacular. The below video comes from behind-the-scenes video from Skullcandy’s'Take a Supermodel To Work’ campaign with Kevin Durant of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden of the Houston Rockets. We have to say that KD summed it up perfectly...