It has been a couple of days now since the Thunder traded away a big part of their future in James Harden, but that hardly stopped anyone from still buzzing about it all.
Who won the trade? Did the Thunder give up on their chance to contend after making it to the Finals last season over money? What does it mean for the Rockets, who suddenly look a whole lot more interesting?
Our columnist Chris Bernucca was far from thrilled with the idea of the Thunder being content with keeping a sustainable team. Sheridan shared similar sentiments in this video, but fellow blogger Jeremy Bauman thought only time can tell who really won in this deal.
Plenty of others shared their thoughts about it all. See them below along with news you should know heading into the season opener:
- James Harden talked about his initial reaction to being traded, from Ben Golliver of SI: “James Harden’s “Welcome to Houston” media tour continued throughout Sunday, and after getting out in front of the biggest question — whether he will sign with the Rockets long term — he did double back to admit that he was caught by surprise when the Oklahoma City Thunder abruptly traded him late Saturday night. “I was actually at dinner with my family,” Harden told CSNHouston’s Kelli Johnson. “Enjoying dinner, nice and quiet. I got a text from my general manager, Sam Presti. I called him. He told me that he loved me and that things didn’t work out and that I was going to be coming to Houston. I was kind of stunned, but as I thought about it, it could be a good thing for me.” The next morning, Harden was on his way to Houston, jumping through the necessary hoops that go with being moved. “A whirlwind,” he said. “Having to pack my things, get as much as possible, having physicals, getting to meet the team and the front office here, it’s been great. It’s kind of a loss for words.”
- Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman has the inside scoop on the discussion that went on between Sam Presti and Harden and his agent in the final hour before the trade: “But Sam Presti told him. Presti’s lips now are sealed, but sources from both parties said that the Thunder appealed one final time to Harden on Friday. Upped its offer to $53 million over four years but told Harden if he didn’t take it, he would be traded to Houston. Presti didn’t use that as a warning. He used it as a plea. He desperately wanted to keep Harden, but this was the last best offer. And the Thunder gave Harden an hour to accept. It wasn’t that Presti was trying to play hardball, necessarily. He was on the clock. That deal with the Rockets wouldn’t last forever; Houston wanted Harden early enough to sign him to a contract extension by the Halloween deadline. Presti had decided that if Harden wouldn’t sign an extension with OKC, a preseason deal offered the Thunder its best leverage. Harden, through his agent, said he needed three days. Presti stood firm on one hour. And 60 minutes later, Presti called the Rockets and consummated a rare NBA October blockbuster trade.”
- Daryl Morey was quite proud to be able to land a player of James’ caliber, from Golliver: