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Monday, October 29th, 2012 at 10:15 am  |  100 responses

James Harden Was Reportedly Devastated By Trade


He may be ready to become the proverbial Man in Houston, but when the trade was announced, James Harden was not the happiest camper in the world. Reports The Oklahoman: “James Harden boarded an airplane Sunday morning, bound for Houston. He was ‘devastated,’ said someone who knows the Bearded One. Harden and his family both. Said Harden was stunned that the Thunder actually traded him to the Rockets. He didn’t believe the Thunder would do it. 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. [...] ‘It happened so fast, it happened very fast,’ Harden said, a point Presti might dispute, since talks started in July. ‘But this is the position I’m in now,’ Harden said. ‘Just have to make the best of it.’”

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  • Caboose

    Sounds simple, Harden wanted more money, OKC couldn’t give it to him. If you really wanted to stay with the Thunder, you could have accepted pretty close to a max deal instead of gunning for the title of “max player.”

  • danpowers

    cosign you. the offer was fair, he has no reason to complain

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    not an OKC fan. but I’m just disappointed by the trade. OKC had a one of a kind trio. and Harden was probably the most talented X-factor in the league.

  • Dagger

    I think he and his agent thought the Thunder were bluffing. To be fair, I don’t know why the Thunder didn’t negotiate for a couple more days at least.

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    I think this is a direct result of players like Dwight and Melo holding these team hostage. The Thunder decided that they were gonna be the ones in control and made a move that eliminates all that unnecessary drama.

  • bike

    53 million/fours years for a sixth man on a championship-caliber team doesn’t sound bad at all.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    No sympathy for him. Should have taken the deal that was equal to what he was worth. $55 million is more than enough. If anyone has a right to be upset at all, it’s Durant and Westbrook along with the rest of last year’s team who thought they had a great thing going only to find out that Harden was more concerned with money than winning. Presti is a smart man.

  • Dagger

    To be fair, it’s a bit unrealistic to criticize a rich player for not accepting less money while ignoring the fact that a super rich owner was unwilling to part with that same money.

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    Especially how he choked in the playoffs last season, he owed OKC a favor. lol

  • russian guy

    So Harden is the bad guy for taking more money (which is in fact the right business move going forward),but the ownership gets a break.OKC was playing a team consisting of 3 of the best 25 players in the NBA on rookie contracts.They made enough profit out of him.There is no reason at all why James Harden should feel any guilt.

  • Dymez

    This is interesting news. There’s really no good guy or bad guy here, though it sounds like Harden’s PR team is trying make Presti look like the man with the iron fist in this whole situation. If I run a team and I have the offer that the Rockets gave on the table, and I have a short amount of time to accept it, best believe you have an even shorter amount of time to accept the deal I’m offering you. Harden’s agent tried to get those “3 days” knowing damn well he would get the leverage if Presti waited that long. Harden gambled and he lost — just chalk it up as one.

  • russian guy

    Oh and what he is ‘worth’ is determined by the market and the market was the max deal.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    can’t be mad at either side

  • spit hot fiyah

    presti has cojones. harden might look back at this and regret it for the rest of his career. durant and westbrook settled for the less than max in order to give the roster flexibility

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    exactly. trying to play kings ransom is bullshit

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Presti pulled a Utah Jazz/get Deron Williams out of here before he becomes a distraction.

  • Caboose

    OKC didn’t not offer a max because of a thrifty owner, they just would lose all financial flexibility. They didn’t offer a max contract because 1. he’s not a max player, and 2. the Thunder would annihilate their ability to sign players outside Harden, Russ, Durant, and Serge.

  • Caboose

    Shout out to Manu

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    There are no bad guys here. Just not the best decision for Harden if he wants to win.

  • shockexchange

    That makes Harden, along with Lin, the second player “devastated” about being traded to Houston.

  • http://www.facebook.com/blong33 Brad Long

    Dude was already talking about possibly playing for the Suns last year. This was a BOSS move by Sam Presti. Jeremy Lamb AND Kevin Martin?!?!? J-Lamb just might be a star himself eventually.

  • http://www.facebook.com/blong33 Brad Long

    Lin wasn’t traded to Houston, he signed there.

  • justin05

    Lol can you read? BamN just said no bad guys here. It wasn’t the best decision for Harden, he should have known that he might be traded if he didn’t accept the offer. Especially an offer as handsome as the one he was given. Now he gets more attention and higher stats but he won’t compete for a championship in years, if ever. Houston just spent a lot of money on Lin and Harden and it will come back to bite them.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they still can’t sign anyone. it’s not like they gained cap space by trading Harden. they essentially took back just as much as they would have been paying him in Martin & Lamb.

  • justin05

    Super rich owners? There is still a salary cap and luxury taxes. OkC has prided themselves on building a championship caliber team in a small market. Westbrook even took less money so that the core could stay together. Harden just wanted to be the man. It’s too bad that basketball isn’t enough for these guyys to show up. Always trying to reach a higher status…

  • justin05

    Lin wasn’t traded to Houston. They signed him for too much money also

  • justin05

    They could have waited a few weeks to see what was out on the market once certain teams dont live up to potential. Harden didn’t have to get traded until the deadline. Presti pulled the trigger based more off emotion than logic.

  • Dagger

    He choked in the Finals . . . he was great in the other rounds.

  • shockexchange

    Fair point. He wasn’t traded, but he was described as “devastated” about playing for Houston and not the Knicks.

  • phil

    James harden knew he was going to the rockets if he did not agree to the deal, he knew the thunder couldn’t offer him the max and he still didn’t accept 14 mill a year.

    He was stunned huh? He was devastated huh? Sounds like ny knicks sour grapes just like with lin.

  • M Cho

    the gap was less than 5 mil. And after taxes it would be what? Less than 2.5 mil? Chump change for millionaire athletes. Shoulda taken the deal and gone to the finals again this year.

  • Clos1881

    Presti did kind of put the gun to his head by saying you have a hour that’s not a lot of time to make a life decision.

  • roscoe

    it’s understandable considering the average waist line of HOU locals is 43.5 inches.

  • Caboose

    Kevin Martin is expiring. Like I said, I think they’re targeting a win in 2014, and if they can best LA and Miami this year, that’s gravy

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    The Houston deal might not have been on the table in a few weeks. Harden knew a decision had to be made on his future this season and I’m sure he’s been thinking about it. Its not like he was totally blindsided.

  • sef

    harden would’ve been constantly thinking about this for the last few months non-stop… when there is an offer on the table you have to make succinct decisions based off pre-made decisions

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they already have $55M set for 2014. It’s not like they will have significant cap space man. And they aren’t attracting any big free agents to Oklahoma City anyway. Basically, they just traded away the best player they could have possibly had on their roster in the next 5 years unless you really think the possible lottery pick they picked up will turn into a better player than Harden….which would be like counting on a shooting star at a specific time without knowing anything about the universe.
    .
    Essentially the Thunder just gave up any chance they had at a title, for a chance at maybe being able to get back their in a couple years? Really? When has giving up a chance to win now for the chance to possibly win later EVER worked out for anyone?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he can get more money. it’s not complaining, and it’s not wrong to want the highest value for your services. And he is getting $78M over 5 years rather than $55M over 4. He would have been stupid to take the OKC deal just to win, to be honest. He’s not a marquee guy who makes a ton of money off of endorsements. He probably doesn’t make half a million dollars a year in endorsements.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    And the difference in income was $55M over 4 years, compared to $78M over 5. It’s not “pretty close” to a max deal. That’s a lot of f*cking money.

  • shutup

    You don’t know what you got till its gone……………..just a case were a person over values himself, then gets hit with a reality bomb.

  • danpowers

    youre talking to somebody who will maybe make one or one and a half million during his whole life while working his butt off. so i dont know what to say about this lol

  • shutup

    Not saying he was a bad guy, but the difference roughly translates to 1.5 million a year, I’m pretty sure later in his career he will gladly sacrifice that small amount to be a contender again. Once again money issues destroy what could have been a great team. As a Spurs fan this makes me appreciate Manu even more.

  • shutup

    Word.

  • shutup

    Don’t negotiate with terrorists, and that beard definitely had him on the watch list

  • http://twitter.com/CdubSooner00 cw

    couldn’t say it better myself. how do you not know? if you didn’t know, you need remedial math classes and/or a better/less greedy agent!!! agent not getting any blame here but you can bet he wasn’t helping the thunder’s cause.

  • http://twitter.com/CdubSooner00 cw

    presti made the right decision. he could see the train coming down the tracks. its simple, do it now and get max value, wait until march and get bread crumbs, or wait until next summer and get NOTHING. not a hard choice, IMO. Harden had plenty of time. he made his choice months ago.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you need to stop comparing yourself to NBA players first of all…..you gotta consider lifestyle, and how comfortable of a life you live compared to them. Not saying they actually “need” all this extra money, but to live the life they want to live past their playing days, they have to make as much money as possible…..plus the whole, planning for the future, and kids are expensive…can’t blame a guy for getting everything he can for his services. It’s what any of us would do in any other career.

  • http://twitter.com/CdubSooner00 cw

    sad but true coming from a HUGE thunder fan since the day they came to OKC. gonna miss da Beard.

  • SlimeCity

    ummmmm sorry to burst your bubble but durant and westbrook both have max contracts. seems like this is the most popular myth surrounding the harden trade.

  • russian guy

    Not considering the financial aspect,but to all those who say how Harden could walk away and ‘destroy’ a contender:What happened to the ‘players should not try to play with their rivals,but beat them (Lebron James e.g.)’ stuff?Why not respecting a 23 year old man who is trying to be a franchise player,live up to his contract and be a star in this league,even if Harden wanted to stay but played his cards wrong?

  • Clos1881

    The first few months they were negotiating the last amount came and he was given an hour thats a tough decision to make in that time frame. Not saying either side is at fault just saying I understand where Harding is coming from.

  • Junior Taylor

    Great point. People just like to choose sides and contort an argument to support their believes.

  • SlimeCity

    personally, i think that some people are putting too much blame on a 23 year old (who by the way has more than enough to time to pursue his basketball goals) in going for more money at such a young age. although you may argue that he wasn’t “worth the max”, there are several GMs around the NBA desperate enough to give a player like him that much money. “lebron and wade took less, heck even tim duncan took less TO WIN!” but these are already established players who have made the money and are now proven winners. harden is 23 right now and even if i were in his shoes, i’d take the money in case i have a mid-career crisis or a horrible injury to secure my future. i’m sure harden cares about winning but even though NBA fans hate to admit, getting as much money as soon as possible is a priority. you can sure use the “it’s not THAT much of a difference, just sign the OKC deal” excuse, but that’s someone else’s money, it’s easy for us to speculate what should be done with it. why not blame the organization for not giving him enough money? all in all, i think both parties won this. OKC cannot be counted out just yet because UM THEY STILL HAVE DURANT AND WESTBROOK. add martin’s scoring to fill in harden’s void, the possibility that his game can be elevated playing with great players, jeremy lamb and a returning eric maynor, they will be fine. even though LAL seems like a huge threat. a possible secured future with the picks and damn, i think OKC might have stole this. harden also has a lot to prove in his now starting role with houston. as a lakers fan, i still wish the best for both. but only time can tell what’s what.

  • tigerJK

    WOW

  • SlimeCity

    oh almost forgot PJIII, steal of the draft. presti really wants that executive of the year award.

  • danpowers

    dont blame him n that was a lil self ironically tho. my comment referred to him saying he was devastated. where is the point? to me this sounds like a complaint about the trade

  • lososway

    and they deserve those contracts. They could’ve waited until they were free agents and then signed for more. I think that’s what some (confused) people mean when they say they didn’t sign for max

  • lososway

    not sure what you’re saying, Russian guy…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i believe he was devastated because the Thunder didn’t value him as much as he thought they should man.

  • danpowers

    and my statement was just that they valued and offered him exactly what he is worth

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the offer was fair, in your opinion, for the Thunder. Not for Harden. There is a difference. If Harden was worth max money to ANYONE, max money would be a “fair” offer. Harden has all the right in the world to be devastated, he obviously wanted to stay in OKC, but he also wanted the best professional situation for himself in terms of compensation. He isn’t wrong for turning down the Thunder offer just because it seems “fair”. This is his life & future. And his life is more important than the Thunder’s success as a team.
    .
    Him being devastated isn’t complaining, it’s being honest.

  • Lloyd

    This article makes it seem like he was going to take the deal. He wanted more money and Presti gave him the highest offer he would and an hour to decide in turn. Negotiation wise, asking for three days instead seems more like a power play to me to save face before conceding defeat and accepting.

  • Datkid

    my thoughts exactly.

  • 23

    Yep I agee, but quite frankly I think that this is exactly what harden wanted.

  • 23

    I would think winning is above and beyond the #1 goal for all players. If you ask me its stupid to reject a multimillion dollar contract with arguably the best team in the nba and then turn around and sign a deal with the worst team in the southwest division. But that’s just me.

  • 23

    All that money for the same dude that didn’t show up in the finals.

  • 23

    I think that’s a lot worse. Playing at an elite level, then inexplicably disappearing when his team needed him most.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it is 1 more year and $23,000,000.00 more dollars. Winning is a great goal for a team to have, but for a 23 year old individual? What the f*ck for? What if he gets hurt and this is his list contract as a professional basketball player? What if he wants to be able to pay for the college of his kids, and their kids, and their kids, and their kids?
    .
    Do you no have any financial responsibilities in your life? Every time I hear a person criticize an NBA player for taking that much more money i just assume those people have no idea how valuable money actually is.

  • 23

    Funny you bring up the spurs because at one point I thought OKC was going to be the new version of San Antonio.

  • 23

    The most sensible comment I’ve read so far.

  • shutup

    James Harden showed that his bottom-line meant more than team success, I respected what OKC was doing, I was hoping that money issues wouldn’t tear this team apart, its sad to think that their run might be over before it ever got started. They reminded also the Spurs, The humble superstar team leader (Duncan/Durant) the fiery often amazing pg (Parker/Westbrook) and the Sacrificial starter that comes off the bench as a sg but runs the offense (Manu/Harden)

  • 23

    $50mil+ is plenty of money to live off of. Not to mention his previous contract, and his shoe deal with Nike. He did not sign with Houston for his kids college. You play to win the game. If your number 1 goal isn’t a chip, then gtfo !

  • 23

    Well, maybe NOH can become a spurs-esque franchise.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    how much do you think his Nike deal is worth? And I didn’t say he won’t f*cking survive. Read what I say so you can stop responding with these asinine arguments. You don’t know what kind of financial well being Harden wants/needs in order to live the life he wants to live. Basketball is a game, you can play to win, and still know that. Your life is more important than a game. God forbid, if something happened, and Harden never got the opportunity to win anyway, he would be able to know he maximized the earning potential of his career. It is childish and immature to criticize a person for making career decisions that ultimately benefit their life and the life of their family. No matter how exorbitant their life already is.

  • charliewinning

    I never read that Harden said it was a bad deal. The thing is, a career in pro sports lasts until you’re 40 if you have an abnormally long career. A bunch of fans working dead end jobs that they’ll likely have until they’re 65 simply aren’t in a position to give valid advice on what a player should be satisfied with. You people are in it for your entertainment. It takes a huge amount of immaturity and stupidity to sit behind a keyboard and dictate how much fiinancial security someone else and their fanmily should accept. In end we’re just a bunch of fans. You don’t mean more than than they’re future.

  • charliewinning

    *their future

  • brad09′

    lol like the owners of the thunder (who sell out 41 games a season) cant pay that luxury tax? really kevin martin makes 12 million. Its not like theyre saving a bunch of money. The simple point here is neither the Thunder Front office or Harden was willing to part with money. Not much of a shocker.

  • Max

    It’s totally diffrent tho, the best player in the NBA who joins the then 2nd best player and an allstar, to the best 6th man in the L who still needs to prove himself as a go to guy.
    Not that I had anything against Lebron joining the Heat..

  • ConnieHawk

    we get it, it’s his financial situation. but as it pertains to this article, noting that he is devastated, then he sounds like an idiot. Sounds like Presti laid it out pretty straight, sacrifice and take 53mil instead of the 60 mil we can offer so we can compete, or go get 78mil on some trash team. and it’s not like OkC is gonna be some awful team. they just picked up a pretty awesome sixth man in Kevin Martin. I don’t don’t think anyone ‘loses’ in this trade really tho. Kevin Martin and Lamb definitely win tho hahaha

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he is devastated because the team he wants to play with, doesn’t value him as highly as others. it’s pretty straight forward. you can know something’s coming, and still get devastated by it. I believe the majority of the United States is experiencing that as we speak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BoppinBob47 Bob Edwards

    They should value him more than Westbrook and Ibaka who both signed for less than the Max? He’s devastated because he broke up a very solid core who could have contended for many years. He sounds like a spoiled brat who didn’t get his way.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i didn’t say they should do anything. — and he’s definitely not devastated because of what happened to the Thunder. That’s funny though.
    .
    Just because they signed ONE other guy for less (Ibaka, because he either doesn’t care about the money, or has a bad agent), doesn’t mean Harden should lower what he can sign for. — And RW did sign for the Max. 80 million over 5 years. He doesn’t sound like a spoiled brat at all, saying your devastated is not throwing a tantrum. That’s such bullsh*t. When you have a job that you love, and your employer tells you you will have to relocate, would you be considered a spoiled brat for being devastated that you have to pack up and leave? No. It’s not f*cking different for an NBA player. It’s just a job. A great great great job. But still a job.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i didn’t say they should do anything. — and he’s definitely not devastated because of what happened to the Thunder. That’s funny though.
    .
    Just because they signed ONE other guy for less (Ibaka, because he either doesn’t care about the money, or has a bad agent), doesn’t mean Harden should lower what he can sign for. — And RW did sign for the Max. 80 million over 5 years. He doesn’t sound like a spoiled brat at all, saying your devastated is not throwing a tantrum. That’s such bullsh*t. When you have a job that you love, and your employer tells you you will have to relocate, would you be considered a spoiled brat for being devastated that you have to pack up and leave? No. It’s not f*cking different for an NBA player. It’s just a job. A great great great job. But still a job.

  • Rick

    Actually, as it turns out, it was a 5-year deal upwards of $78M. Each team can offer a 5-year deal to one player and the Thunder had already given it to Russell Westbrook. Can’t blamed the bearded one for taking the much more lucrative offer. Sam Presti never ceases to amaze me… just when you think his back is up against the wall, he comes out swinging and ends up with a fantastic trade for the Thunder in the long term. K. Martin can light it up, Lamb is a silky smooth prospect, and those lottery draft picks may become the most important thing of the trade.

  • Midlawson

    Worst team.Are you nuts man.

  • Midlawson

    And who the hell says he is not going to win at Houston.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Compared to OKC? You can’t be serious.

  • z

    It must get frustrating, dealing with us dumb Americans

  • Richard greenwood

    He could have stayed but his agent was probably too greedy. Takes .5 seconds to say yes to an offer and was given an hour. I wish him all the good luck in the world but I have a problem with people who cannot make up their own minds. If he is truly devastated, he has no one to blame but himself. At the end of the day, Sam Presti is a man of his word.

  • http://www.facebook.com/khalid.scates Khalid Scates

    Its not about signing anyone to replace Harden. Its about maintaining salary cap flexibility by avoiding the draconian luxury tax penalties… the escalating $1.50 to $1.00 over threshold and repeat offender penalty negotiated in the new CBA. True the Thunder did accept roughly the same amount of salary in return +/- a set percentage also predetermined by the CBA… but Harden is still playing on a rookie deal. That’s far different than a Max deal or 4yr/$55M. The bottom line is that James Harden has not shown that he is a Max player and thats not a secret. Its no secret when a player deserves the Max… trust your eyes don’t lie. This is exactly why the owners should blame themselves and their poor choices for GMs who consistently over pay for players and complain when it blows up in their face. As far as salary cap flexibility going forward the Thunder has plenty of young talent to groom… Eric Maynor… Perry Jones… Jeremy Lamb… and a host of draft picks. One of these players or picks will surely replace Harden’s productivity… and at a price that will suit both the team and player. Congrats to Mr. Harden for gettin paid!!!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    except, Per Minute, Harden has shown that he is an elite player. The bet is to whether or not that carries over to full fledged 36 minutes of having the ball in his hands. But, he was getting a max contract from someone, one way or the other. And Daryl Morey (the GM of the Rockets) has proven over time to be quite reliable.
    .
    As far as the Thunder go, it’s not “salary cap flexibility” that would imply they have room to maneuver inside the cap…..they don’t. But they also won’t be paying, the steep luxury tax. Salary Cap flexibility however, is not something OKC will really experience until 2014 at the very very very earliest.

  • TruBluFan

    Thank you, Dagger, for saying that out loud!!! I agree with you.

  • TSA

    Your comment really deserves attention! I follow you and say: Hey people wake up and do not worry about Harden, he is still getting the millions you all dream of.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    This is the best ending. Happily ever after for both sides. Sweet.

  • aaa

    Harden decided to play and Presti made good on his “threat…” Shouldn’t be surprised, Presti is not one to joke around.

  • k

    Agreed, but then he should not be devastated by the trade.

  • aed

    I don’t think they used him effectively enough though… just look at the stat lines he’s posting now.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    I’m happy for the dude

  • RedRum

    Sorry, can’t feel bad for him. He made a bluff. OKC called it. Now he is getting the burden of being no1 in a team, a burden I am not sure he wants… remember, before draft he wrote to Presti to draft him as he wanted to be the there with other stars, not a star himself.

  • TZ4

    He sure looks like a Max player to me. All-Star. Houston’s best player, 40 point games, triple doubles. ETC…

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