Did The Oklahoma City Thunder Make A Huge Mistake In Trading Away James Harden Before The 2012-13 NBA Season?
The Oklahoma City Thunder are in absolutely no trouble right now. Although they lost to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night during their first game after the NBA All-Star break, the Thunder are now 39-15 on the year and sit just 3.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference playoff picture. And, that’s nothing to be ashamed of, seeing as how the Spurs currently have the best record in the entire NBA. But, after last season, which saw the Thunder come thisclose to winning the NBA championship, is Oklahoma City regretting trading their sixth man James Harden to the Rockets just before the start of the 2012-13 NBA season? After watching him light them up for 46 points on Wednesday, are they worried about what they’ll be able to do in the playoffs this season? Should they have kept him, even if he did decide to walk after the current season to sign a new contract to play elsewhere?
At this point, you have to think that they are re-thinking their decision just a bit. After all, Harden is playing like a bonafide superstar this season. Although Houston is just barely in the playoff picture at this point, he’s really shown just how potent he can be offensively during his time with the Rockets. Further, he’s demonstrated his leadership skills and his ability to take over games and will his team to win while with the Rockets. And, those are some of the traits that the Thunder really could have used at times this year. When Russell Westbrook flips out on the sideline or Kevin Durant needs someone to help him when he’s struggling, Harden would have been just the guy the Thunder needed. Except he’s no longer with the team, essentially because of a dispute over his contract.
We don’t blame the Thunder for moving Harden before the season and getting what they could for him. From a business standpoint, it made perfect sense. But, we get the feeling that, before this season is over, the Thunder are going to wish that they still had him on their roster. Because, if they did have him right now, they would be the favorite to win the title this year, instead of just being one of the many teams that’s in contention for it. As we said earlier, it’s not that they’re in trouble right now. It’s that there’s the potential for trouble in their future. And, that is why they made a mistake when they traded James Harden before the season. Just watch what happens in the second half of the 2012-13 NBA season.