Seriously, did we just have an off season where two members of the gold medal USA Olympic team were traded for basically not very much?!? And those two members were YOUNG.
Harden made the USA Olympic team as basically the second youngest guy after Davis, right? I could probably look this up but I'm not going to bother to because if he isn't the youngest he is damn close and probably right behind K. Love. Dre Iggy is just about in his prime so his trade is also pretty darn shocking.
And I think that Westbrook needs to bring it to the next level for OKC to stay in contention. Next level. If there are posts about about "Why isn't OKC winning?" And Westbrook has not brought it to the next level, then I don't want to see those posts. The answer is that Harden was a beast last year. Someone has to step up to replace that. Martin can't. Durrant is already playing like a beast. Westbrook needs to step up. Otherwise this run is done.
"The run is done" They did all this work to see the top of the mountain, and now this. look at the progression, 7 games series with Lakers, then West Conf finals appearance, then finals appearace, what else could you ask for?
You couldn't ask for anything more. Just let Westboork, Durrant, Harden, and Ibaka get more experienced. Give those guys (and frankly there were other good players on the team) some time to get better and this team could have won a championship.
Lebron could get hurt.
Or Lebron could get old since your players were all younger than him and especially younger than D. Wade who obviously is not going to age all that well.
This was an easy call for the OKC and I think they blew it.
Yeah sure, except that championship teams need depth and signing Harden to the max he wanted would have crippled them financially for years.
OKC avoided any off-court distractions and made a decisive move. It's what's called satisficing in psychology, where instead of holding out for the best possible deal, you take the first good one. Orlando held out and look where it got them, but Utah just cut their losses and now boast an extremely promising young team.
Just like the Deron Williams trade, I think this one will pay dividends for OKC.
Or Lebron could get old? That's what you're hoping for? Sure, maybe OKC can hire a wizard and cast a spell on LeBron to make him 50 years older. Maybe that was the better choice.
Maybe it's because it's really late but I've been laughing about this for the past five minutes. +1
This is the first real blemish on Presti's resume in my opinion. They were only $5 million apart. To pull the trade this quickly and break up the core less than 3-4 days from the start of the regular season is just crazy to me.
The deadline for extentions wasn't even until midnight on Wed. That Houston trade wasn't going anywhere.
This is a team that just competed in the Finals and could've easily won. I don't think this trade puts them closer to a championship this season, which is what the goal is for this team now.
1) The Thunder didn't have a chance in the Finals. It wasn't something they easily could have won. They got rolled.
2) It is far more likely for Kevin Martin and later Jeremy Lamb can fill James Harden's role than it is for James Harden to elevate Houston with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik past the level it was at with Lowry, Martin, Camby, and Dalembert. Houston is still stuck in that range where maybe if the stars align that they can get into the first round of the playoffs. I think the Rockets will be a tough team at home, and even good teams who face them during long road trips might slip up, but youth and inexperience doesn't travel well.
3) This move was made when Ibaka was signed. The math was never going to work to pay them both, and they got a big return for Harden.
OKC didn't get rolled lol. Sure, they started out bad (why oh why they continued to start Perk who knows), but except for game 5 they were in every single game until the final few possessions.
Agreed on points 2&3 though. A long-term core of Westbrook-Durant-Ibaka looks much better because of the needed rim protection and their minutes don't interfere with one another like Harden and Westbrook might have. You can't pay someone a max contract who comes off the bench.
Ibaka doesn't protect the rim. Dwight Howard protects the rim because teams don't score there. Everybody scores at the rim against the Thunder.
Some of the reason the heat won the finals was battier and miller just going nuts from three. The heat were better but OKC were competitive. And OKC is younger by a number of years. The OKC core would have been in their prime three years from now. Wade's body might not hold up that long and certainly Lebron will have slowed down a bit by then as well.
The Thunder did not have a lead in Game 2.
They did not lead after the 3rd quarter in Game 3.
They had 20 seconds worth of a lead in the final 19 minutes in Game 4.
They did not lead after mid-way through the 1st quarter in Game 5.
Let me repeat, the Thunder didn't have a chance in the Finals. It wasn't something they easily could have won. They got rolled.
The Thunder had more than a chance to win that series, a few questionable calls in Game 2 stopped them winning that game, the series would have taken on a whole different tone if they were able to hold home-court, and they came close to stealing a few games on the road too.
The reason they didn't win is because Harden balked at the pressure of playing against Wade, something he didn't have to deal with against the Spurs or Mavericks. Against Kobe again, he got thoroughly outplayed but Durant was able to shoulder the burden against an overmatched MWP, and obviously Russ had his way.
It's all good and well to say Harden is a great player, but when he can't perform against the best players at his position and then demands a max deal, you have to take a second look. The Thunder's two biggest opponents are going to be the Lakers and the Heat who both have amazing SGs. Now, nobody is asking Harden to be better than Wade or Kobe right now, but it doesn't make sense to invest that much money in a player/position where you'll still be at a marked disadvantage when you really need him to perform.
Instead, they can bring in Martin to shoot the long ball better than Harden, Lamb to supplant him as Sixth Man eventually for a fraction of the price, and keep Maynor around to pick-up the ball-handling slack.
So I agree with you about points 2 and 3, but OKC as a unit didn't get rolled, Durant's numbers were amazing, Russ cut back on the bone-head plays, but Harden didn't show up and Miami simply couldn't miss from deep - hardly getting rolled.
No. Here is the fact, the Thunder did not have a lead in Game 2. They lost. They deserved to lose. Things only got worse from there. You don't get to rewrite history because you didn't like how it played out.
Does it matter that they didn't have a lead in Game 2? It was a single possession game and Lebron James committed two fouls that weren't called in the last seconds which would have put either Westbrook or Durant on the line, two of the best FT shooters in the NBA. The first one was on Durant when he held his thigh and prevented him from elevating for the shot with his forearm, and the second where he clearly followed through and knocked Westbrook over.
That was a decisive moment in the series, even if the Thunder had got the call and still lost the game it wouldn't have been as damaging as it was to lose it in that manner, with two non-calls on your home court in the Finals. I'm not saying it would have changed the outcome of the series, but they didn't deserve to lose, James committed two fouls that weren't called with under ten seconds to go, how is that OKC deserving to lose? I'm not disputing that things got worse from there; in fact that's pretty much the point I was making - that loss left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Thunder players and sapped their self-efficacy by taking the game's result out of their hands.
I'm not rewriting history, I'm saying the same things now that I said immediately after the game, that losing in that manner would change the course of the series.
Just look at the tape and tell me those weren't fouls, you can't get away with that sort of contact in the modern NBA.
No. They lost because Miami was better. If you want to pick apart calls that go one way or the other, you have to go back the the earlier series where OKC got away with illegal screens left and right and a turning point flops where there was literally no contact being made. You can't make argument that a longshot referee call (Durant turns over his right shoulder and then brings the ball back across the defender to shoot it with his right hand in a very rushed and clumsy sequence) left that could have possibly allowed OKC to tie the game and give Miami the chance to win with 7 seconds to go (with the worst case scenerio being OT) somehow didn't deserve to lose a game where they never had a lead. If you want to be a fan and cling to what you can, fine. It isn't reality.
DID YOU KNOW THE NBA IS ENFORCING KICKING YOUR LEG OUT WHEN YOU SHOOT?????
they will be calling offensive fouls for kicking your leg out as you shoot
It's not just about the 5-6 million. It's about he luxury tax implications once his contract kicked in. A 15 million a yr contract (likely starting somewhere around 13, then escalating) would've likely put them in the highest bracket surpassing the lux tax threshold. Which, depending on the options exercised and non guaranteed contracts not guaranteed, could've led to a lux tax penalty of an upwards of 37 million dollars. OKC might have superstars on their team, but they are still a small market team. They don't have an exorbitant TV contract like a team in LA or NYC to help absorb the basketball operations losses. They don't have an owner who treats the franchise like his own personal toy. They already gave out 2 max contracts. They can't afford another.
I thought this deal was great in terms of timing (contract talks will not be a distraction during the season and they have an entire season to build chemistry for the playoffs) and return. It allows them to remain elite this year with much more flexibility going forward. I personally thought the writing was on the wall for Harden as soon as Ibaka signed his contract. I just couldn't see a small market team spending 60+ mill a year on 4 players.
Ah David Stern, this just hasn't been your year, has it?
- Vetoes a trade
- Botches a CBA that was supposed to help small market teams but instead destroyed one
- Dished out ridiculous penalties (50k for Stoudemire's tweet, only 7 games for Ron Artest that could have ended Harden's career, Micky Arison's 500k fine, yes half a million, etc.)
- Now known as a anti-players commissioner
- Hated by international basketball associates for the U23 rule he tried to instate
No wonder he's planning his retirement.
I think the CBA will actually make small-market teams more capable of retaining their top players and being competitive, when the new CBA takes full effect it means that there will simply not be as many max deals out there and players will have to start looking at money as more of an incentive than winning again (which in a twisted way actually makes sense).
While OKC has made the most of what opportunities they had, they did end up in the bottom 5 for three straight years, so it's still not the ideal way for an NBA team to operate. Tanking hard is bad for the NBA, Stern wants a more competitive regular season and more parity. As the Lebron generation ages you should find that the talent is more evenly dispersed again, but they are just an outlier right now that is throwing off the curve of what it takes to be successful.
What is wrong with how OKC went about re-building? It worked. How do you expect small market teams who aren't in prime,desired locations to rebuild? By overpaying mediocre to slightly above average FAs?
Agreed. Lebron and Wade set the bar too high. Lebron arguably top five player of all time and Wade top five player in league on same team is too much. But Wade is aging and now injury prone. Two years from now they might not seem nearly as dominate. But no need for other teams or league to panic.
OKC's strategy required them to luck into a franchise player with the second pick. Portland should have taken Durant. Without Durant, OKC does not contend. Normally second pick does not get you true franchise superstar and it required Portland screwing up for OKC to get one.