Who won? Who knows. But Harden deal was one to talk about
James Harden can’t get a deal on a contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder and, boom!, he’s shipped off to Houston for a package of players and picks.
Not sure how much a more punitive tax threshold that’s coming factored into OKC’s decision – it had to play a role – but I think they might have made the right basketball decision as well as the right financial one.
Look, Harden’s a gifted player, no question about it, a 23-year-old shooting guard who should be entering the prime of his career and he may have had an atrocious NBA Finals last June but he’s skill.
However, he’s also never been The Man and never would have been on any team with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and it makes it a lot easier to be very good when you’re surrounded by great. I don’t know that he’s capable of lifting a team on his back alone because he’s never had to do it and there are enough flaws on the Houston roster that no matter how good he is, they are a marginal playoff team at best.
The Thunder is still good, very good, still the second-best team in the West (and awfully close to the Lakers) and losing Harden isn’t going to change that. They are being a bit financially prudent – it’s a byproduct of the new CBA as much as anything – and while you might see some shortsightedness in this deal from their side, they are better poised now to be flexible in the future than they would have been had they stuck with Harden at a maximum value deal.
But here’s one of the more important things about this whole affair:
For every decision someone makes, there are consequences and repercussions that you need to live with and have to anticipate when you make them.
I would presume, and hope, that Harden and his agents knew there would be backlash to his turning down what would appear to be a pretty good deal but you can’t leave a good situation without knowing there would be a price to be paid.
And as long as you’re willing to live with those consequences and repercussions, there can be no looking back.
I don’t think for a second that Harden regrets what he did, nor should he. He did what he thought was best for him and there’s no reason to look back.
We can’t presume for a second to know who “won” this trade at the moment, it might take a year or two before that becomes crystal clear.
But the salient fact right now is that it looks like everybody won:
Harden should get is maximum value contract, worthy of it or not.
The Rockets got a fine young player and still have enough money to go after another one next summer.
The Thunder still have Durant and Westbrook and Serge Ibaka and their depth and ability to get young players in the future has been enhanced.
Sure, it would have been nice had Harden taken the last offer and stayed in a place where they had something special going on. He didn’t, he made a choice, rightly or wrongly, and has to live with his decision.
You had to know this was coming, right?
Man, don’t you just hate it when things just fizzle out.
Like the World Series.
Good on the Giants – and team with a guy they call Panda and a pitcher who evokes memories of Sidd Finch is okay with me – but I’d rather have seen the Tigers win.
Or at least win a game because there’s nothing as off-putting as a sweep.
But at least now we can start thinking about how AA is going to fix the TOD and who might manage it.
I’m available for either.
I’ll tell you what, aside from the fact it’s about 150 kilometres from Casa Doug, they’ve got something good going up at Rama, the casino way up north that hosted the intrasquad game Sunday.
And quite aside from the fact two public intrasquad games is one too many – ask the coaches and players in their heart of hearts whether they really wanted to be there and you’d get an overwhelming “no, not really but I guess we have to do it – the facility was outstanding.
Had that theatre lighting we like so much and it’s too bad it only holds about 3,000 for basketball because I bet it’d be a cool place to have a pre-season game.
No, I don’t know how Jose Calderon or John Lucas III is after banging up their knees yesterday and we won’t find out until much later today after practice.
The timing’s awful, though, if they have to miss even a day of practice since they’ve only got today and tomorrow to get ready to start things but, as Dwane said somewhere in this piece, things can happen at any time.
Just a tough break.
Oh, yeah, we’re going to chat.
Seems we have this thing at noon today with me, Not Grace Kelly, Dave F. and McGran to talk about the sorry state of Toronto pro sports teams and that ought to be, um, fun.
And there’s some talk about doing something at noon on Wednesday that’s basketball specific.
Man, you folks and I are going to get to be really close, aren’t we?
And is that a good thing?
Hey, bundle up and be safe, folks.
It’s going to get nasty out there.