Did the Thunder trade the wrong guy?
I remember last year when a poll was conducted between most NBA GM's on the idea oftrading either Westbrook or Harden. Most of them said they would trade Westbrook and keep Harden. I thought that was crazy. Now, Westbrook is struggling and Harden is flourishing. Did the Thunder trade the wrong guy? Last year, or maybe last offseason, it was reported that the Celtics offered Rondo for Westbrook straight up. The Thunder laughed at it and said no. But I'm thinking they made the wrong choice. The Thunder needed two things, a passer, and a way to keep Harden. Rondo is one of the best passers in the league, if not the best, and he makes significantly less money than Westbrook (11 mil this year). The Celtics would have gotten Westbrook a better scorer, better athlete, and a better future face of the franchise. So, with Rondo, the Thunder would have been able to sign Harden, and the Celtics would have a new better face of the franchise. Would this have worked for both teams?
If trading Rondo for Westbrook was a real offer, then the Thunder missed the boat. Westbrook might be a better player than Harden, but I'd rather have a Harden on my team, especially if Rondo and his bargain contract was also on board. I think Rondo's contract would've assured that OKC would've retained Harden.
I'm not sure what the C's direction would've been if they acquired Westbrook. They might have torn everything down and tried to rebuild around him as opposed to keeping the vets around and giving it another go this season. Compared to Durant, I don't think Garnett and Pierce would be as tolerant of Westbrook's BS. Rondo has his own BS that his teammates have to put up with, but at least he's dishing them the rock while being a pain in the ass.
Short answer is yes. Harden's per game efficiency lended itself to being able to do more if given a premier role. Theres a reason Manu was considered a top 3 shooting guard in his prime despite being a 6th man.
... not a westbrook fan at all but come on... only 2 games played in the season !!!
Do you remember how westbrook and harden respectively played during the last finals ?...
I thought this was going a different direction. I thought the question was going to be should they have trade Serge Ibaka rather than James Harden. I was shocked when they re-signed Ibaka instead of hammering the deal out for Harden. Ibaka has potential to be awesome, but right now he hasn't done anything but block shots consistently. If I was Presti I would've dealt Ibaka and kept Harden.
Yes, Harden was bad for a 5 game stretch. 2 of the games were actually pretty good. Do you remember how unstoppable off the bench he was against Dallas and San Antonio? Not everyone is going to be good every game. Especially a 22 year old. His instincts, IQ, passing and shooting ability were evident from his rookie year.
I personally don't like the fact that Westbrook seems to need to take 20 shots a game. He forces shots and has posessions that ruin all team momentum. Just my personal preference.
The championship goes through miami, that is why those 5 games matter. Dallas wont be there unless they make a major change. The spurs are still getting old, they may be a top 4 team for the next 2 to 3 years but they are a step below the lakers and thunder.
Yeah in hindsight it might have been a good trade but the offer was made before the 2011 season began, and the Thunder might have been worrying about shaking up chemistry for no real reason at the time. The Thunder were coming off an impressive post season run and KD, Westbrook and Harden looked like the core of their future and OKC management might have thought it feasible to retain all three.
Here's a link to the proposed trade: Rondo and Jeff Green for Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins (kinda funny that the deal had Green and Perkins going to back to teams that had just traded them for each other months earlier, I didn't even realize that was allowed in the NBA)
I think it's too early to tell.
Obviously Harden has had two monster games and has out-played everybody in the league but we can't say he's a better player than Westbrook just yet. Although, it's safe to say it's a lot closer than it was last season simply by watching Harden and how smooth he is with the ball and how easily he can score when given the shots.
Then again, he was guarded by the likes of Brandon Knight, Kim English, Rodney Stuckey, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, and DeShawn Stevenson. Not exactly defensive stoppers.
These 4 of the next 5 games are truly a test for Harden as he'll play the Blazers (Batum and Matthews), Nuggets (Iguodala and Brewer), the Grizzlies (Tony Allen), the Heat (Wade, James, Battier).
We all knew Harden would score more being a main option rather than the third option. But two huge games does not mke it a bad trade. Will everyone start saying the Knicks and Bulls should have kept Lin and Asik if they have a good run in Houston.
Logically Sam Presti maybe should have tried to tie Harden up first put the if no deal was done, Ibaka could hae played hardball and gone to restricted FA, so he had to tie up who he could first.
If the Thunder had wanted a pass first PG then would they have considered Steve Nash and got a load of assets from Phoenix maybe including Gortat for Perkins and dealt Westbrook to Phoenix.
Yes, yes we will start saying the Knicks and Bulls should have kept Lin and Asik if they have a good run in Houston because . . . the Knicks and Bulls should have kept Lin and Asik because they are young and already really good at playing basketball.
Harden is better than Westbrook. It was arguable two years ago, quite clear last year but you had to pay attention, and this season will become obvious. Harden is going to score more points than Westbrook while shooting a higher percentage and averaging about the same number of assists. You want to bet against that?
anyone would score more points being the first option as opposed to the third. The trade was good because the thunder were not getting the max value out of harden, the rockets are. Westbrook is better than harden, put westbrook by himself he would be doing a lot more like derrick.
Harden is a guy that was just due to breakout. Personally, I dont think OKC made a mistake. Harden was looking for max and everything worked out. I think getting a guy like Martin to come off the bench and replace Harden's offense and still keeping the 2 top dogs and Serge is better than trying to replace Russ. Russ is what makes this team go. Plus I like the idea of having a guy like Lamb you can bring along slowly. I think both the teams and players are in good positions.
""Now Westbrook is struggling and Harden is flourishing""
westbrook is coming off a 32p-5a-6r 1TO on 54fg% where he carried his team, and look unstoppable.
he's averaging 25p-5.4a-6.4r despite his terrible 1st game.... if he actually had a bad game yesterday, the board would be filled with "harden > westbrook" post.
whoelse is really gonna score tho, maybe lin, Parson on occasion but the majority of that team are finishers not creators so hes gonna have to keep putting up numbers/shots all year just to kep them in games. The key to me is how they adjust as teams start adjusting and scouting them .
Trade wise I feel they should of got rid of perkins and kept Harden, hes the worst contract on the team.
Like 220 said before me, I was very surprised when the Thunder resigned Ibaka to that big deal. I think Serge is a great defender, and maybe this will prove to be wrong, but at 12 million a year for a PF who isn't an 18 and 10 or better guy is simply not worth it. Give me a guy who is capable of 25-5-5 any given game for 4 million more (5-80) all day every day.
Had the decision been in my hands, I would of seen what Serge Ibaka could of gotten on the trade market. I don't think you get as good of a package in return for him, but it certainly wouldn't be a pile of garbage.
But what is done is done. That being said, here is what I want to see the Thunder do to reach their potential this year: get KD the dam ball! Last year they put up almost the same amount of shots per game (19.7-19.2), but one guy is the top scoring PG and the other is the best scorer in the league, regardless of position. If I'm the coach I need at least 22 shots per game out of one of the best pure scorers I have ever seen, and my PG needs to understand when to take it himself and when to get the ball to the best scorer in the world. Especially in the 4th quarter.
I feel like the Thunder made the best move for them and Harden at the same time. They put James in a position where he can shine and get the money he wanted. They also didnt get anyworse and got a complimentary scorer in Martin and some future picks and Lamb. I think Ibaka over Harden was a no brainer because of the fact that, Ibaka gives that team somehthing no body else on the roster can. He is an athletic big man that makes the jumper, finishes around the basket and protects the rim at all cost. If they gave him up, that team wouldn't go very far. Harden is a superstar in the making BUT he's another player that does the same things that KD and Westbrook does. He a perimeter scorer that can create for himself and others, pretty much like KD and Russ. According to their roster, he was disposable. Ibaka is the only player on the roster with his capabilites. As far as the Westbrook and Harden situation goes, I think Russ would do the same thing Harden is doing if he was in Houston. They are both phenomenal players. KD is the man, but Russ definitely makes the team go.
^ well said. I feel exactly the same way.
I've stuck with Westbrook until now, and I'll continue to stick with him, but yes, Harden is a lot better than I thought he was before the trade, it's amazing what more shots and the offense going through you can do.
People please, lets not all get out of control. It was 2 games at the begining of the season. Like surve said, it was expected he would have a good breakout year, something around 22,5,5. Damn good numbers, but it won't be 37 and 45 every night i promise. Harden is a terrific player, but Westbrook is the fire that runs the machine. Rondo MAY have been able to gel with KD and Harden nicely doing exactly as needed to get the ball to the scorers and finishers i.e. KD,James, and Serge. The little problem for me would have been what else OKC would have gotten in return. Not enough prospects in Boston outside of Rajon. Perhaps now if they could get Melo and Bradley as well for Russy it may have been a better deal, but hindsight is 20-20.
I think Harden is more versatile,and better teamate in terms of sharing the ball...but they both are 2 heck of players and everybody knew OKC would have to trade one guy...
After hours of thinking about this situation and watching some footae of Russ,James, and Serge, it seems the Thunder probably did make a bad choice. Ibaka's contract is a hindrance now. If he were to continue developing it wouldn't be so bad.
Hindsight, I'd have tried to pry Josh Smith away from ATL using Ibaka. Then traded Westbrook for Rondo, Fabricio De Melo, Avery Bradley and a pick. Ibaka looks like he has actually regressed as an overall player seemingly nothing more than an elite shot blocker with elite athleticism and an open jumper. his aggressiveness and rebounding have taken a turn to the worst.
C-Perkins/Thabeet/Melo(developing as future defensive shotblocking big who can run the floor)
When Taj Gibson as a reserve gets $38 million over 4 years then $50 million for Ibaka over 4 years still looks fair value. As we always say hindsight is a great tool, if Jeremy Lamb becomes a 15ppg top bench guy then everyone will be saying that Morey should have kept him.
Honestly I think that Presti got about as much value as he could for Harden whilst keeping within the tax levels. The only way he would have got more would have been to play hardball with Harden earlier in the off season and put him into play when all the big FA moves were taking place but it could have put Harden on a genuine contender which would have been the last thing Sam Presti would have wanted to have done.
As regards Lin and Asik does anyone else think that the existing teams should have the flexability to match a contract equally over the term of the contract e.g $8.6 million per year in the case of Asik and Lin so they don't have to take a huge luxury tax hit in year 3 which probably meant that neither offer was matched. But with Taj Gibson, as it is a more even contract, Chicago have been able to retain him on a good contract.