Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The James Harden Situation
James Harden made a shrewd business decision. He decided his play on the court warranted a max contract (4 years, 60 million) and he wasn't willing to give OKC a hometown discount to re-sign him. 99 times out of 100 I would agree with the choice Harden made not to sign an extension with the Thunder. Money doesn't grow on trees, NBA contracts are guaranteed, and you never know what the future holds. Get it while you can. Unfortunately James Harden forgot the one exception to the rule and that is you never leave a team capable of winning multiple championships with a young superstar in their prime.
Kevin Durant is a rare talent that comes along once every 25 years. He already has 3 scoring titles under his belt and he hasn't developed a low post game yet. Russell Westbrook is a nightmare for point guards to defend and he's growing into the position. Serge Ibaka protects the rim with the same tenacity as Dwight Howard or Tyson Chandler. All of these players are under contract for the next 4 years and they're all under 25 years old. The Thunder are built to win now and the future looks bright.
Aside from the Los Angeles Lakers the Thunder really don't have much opposition in the Western conference. They manhandled San Antonio in the playoffs last year and the Clippers are more style than substance. Blake Griffin needs to prove he can take the next step and Chris Paul needs to stay healthy. With only one legitimate threat the Thunder should reach the finals 3 of the next 4 years.
James Harden was the 3rd option coming off the bench in OKC. Houston expects him to be the focal point of the offense. It's a lot easier to get your shot off when Durant and Westbrook are demanding double teams as opposed to Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. The Rockets are in a rebuilding phase hoping James harden is a significant piece to the puzzle. The OKC Thunder are a finished product in search of a championship. Scottie Pippen took less money to play with Jordan. The MoHeatos all took less money to play together. James Harden should've taken less money to play with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.