The NBA is full of stories that could only happen in our imaginations because reality was very different. The league collects a lot of ‘what ifs’ and one of the biggest and most curious is what would have happened if the Oklahoma City Thunder kept all Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden together.
Bill Simmons recently discussed several hypothetical scenarios that could have changed Harden’s career, including the possibility of the Beard staying with the Thunder. Talking with the Ringer, Simmons made big claims about the 2018 NBA MVP and his career.
“I believe, what if OKC kept KD, Russ, and Harden together, is the biggest NBA what-if of all time,” Simmons said. “Known now for everything that Harden traded, at least four titles and at least three MVP awards.
“How would our hypothetical great-great grandkids comprehend that trade? Three future MVPs made the 2012 Finals, all 23 years and under, they never played together again and it happened because OKC wanted to avoid the luxury tax.”
Then Simmons proceeded to explain how he predicted in 2012 that the Thunder would trade Harden, labeling that move as the ‘worst’ for OKC. Further, he explained how good Harden became for the Houston Rockets as soon as he arrived, but pointing out his inability to beat the Golden State Warriors on the four occasions they faced each other in the postseason.
Just like Golden State did with Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Thunder could have done the same and create one of the biggest dynasties in NBA history. These are the type of stories that we can live in our minds and that’s it.
Still, if OKC actually kept their three stars together, it was over for the rest of the NBA, as those guys looked ready to take it all.