James Harden has quickly become the heart and soul of the Houston Rockets, and even despite his youth, he’s already one of the best players in franchise history and a lock to have his jersey hanging high when he retires.
The Beard landed at Houston via trade from Oklahoma City, as the Thunder didn’t have enough money to keep both him and Serge Ibaka, and thought the ladder was a better fit next to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
Bold take or not, what’s done is done, and the Rockets are surely glad this move went through. Nonetheless, according to several reports, the Beard was actually pretty close to being dealt elsewhere. Today, we’ll let you know about 7 offers the Thunder got for Harden back in the day.
7. Charlotte Hornets
When the Charlotte Hornets found themselves with the 2nd overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, they immediately started shopping it as they were only interested in landing Anthony Davis, who was obviously going to be taken 1st overall.
Naturally, they offered the 2nd pick in an attempt to get James Harden as they wanted to enter win-now mode instead of landing a prospect. Needless to say and looking at that short Draft, Sam Presti quickly declined.
6. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns never made a formal offer for James Harden but there were a lot of rumors around the league back then stating that the Beard was being heavily pursuit by them, being one of the few teams that had the assets to make a run for him.
Back then, the Suns had Nash, Telfair, Gortat, Lopez, Childress, Frye, Dudley and a handful of picks to make the deal work, but they didn’t actually feel like they needed to pull it off. Sorry, Suns fans.
5. Utah Jazz
Just like the Suns, Utah never made a formal offer to Sam Presti regarding a potential James Harden trade, but they were involved in serious trade talks for a day until the Jazz backed out of the potential deal.
See, Presti wanted to find a good home for his standout shooting guard, but the Jazz were unwilling to part ways with any of the players Presti asked for: Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter or Derrick Favors.
4. Boston Celtics
According to several reports, James Harden was pretty close to joining the Boston Celtics a year before he was traded to the Rockets, as Danny Ainge was keen to get him in the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to OKC.
Originally, Ainge wanted to swap Harden for Perkins but Presti convinced him to take Jeff Green instead. Him being desperate to take the troublemaker off his books, he gently agreed. Maybe he’s not the basketball genius we thought he is.
3. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors were the first team Sam Presti called offering James Harden too, as he was keen to get Jonas Valanciunas on his team. Also, they would’ve gotten Jose Calderon and either Terrence Ross or DeMar DeRozan.
That trade looks pretty fair now, but actually, the Raptors were unwilling to absorb James Harden’s 80 million dollar contract. Can you believe that? How would this team fare had they accepted this deal?
2. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards were the second team that called Sam Presti about Harden’s availability, and truth to be told, they could’ve easily had him, but the team was unwilling to pay Harden’s contract.
Back in the day, the Thunder wanted Chris Singleton and Bradley Beal in return for Harden, a deal that would’ve worked out perfectly for everybody involved. Now, the Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league.
1. Golden State Warriors
Yes, prior to the Steve Kerr era, the Golden State Warriors could’ve put together a super team right before our very eyes, as the team actually offered Klay Thompson and a future draft pick to the Thunder.
While Thompson would’ve been a perfect fit next to Russ and Durant thanks to his top-notch backcourt defense and shooting, the Warriors could’ve kickstarted their run and gun offense way sooner.