An Interactive Sports Experience



May 13, 2014

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s trade of James Harden is truly beginning to show. The lost on Sunday to the Los Angeles Clippers truly exemplifies this fact. Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets after he and Oklahoma City could not agree to terms on a contract extension. Harden, the (2011-2012 6th Man of the Year) was looking for a max deal. The Thunder offered a 4yr/55 million dollar extension in which Harden turned down. The task of giving Harden a max deal was virtually impossible with the team having two other star players signed to max deals. (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook)

Harden was traded to Houston along with four other players. In return the Thunder received 2012 Lottery pick Jeremy Lamb, three future draft-picks and shooting guard Kevin Martin. Over the last two seasons Harden has paid immediate dividends to the Rockets organization.  Since he left Oklahoma, he has become a multiple All-Star and a top 5 scorer in the NBA. The lost of Harden has left the Thunder with two predominant scorers. The NBA has become a league where teams need three star players. The Miami Heat has demonstrated these circumstances for the last three years.  

The front offices of the Thunder chose to extend Serge Ibaka instead of Harden. Two years later, these changes are starting to show. The team does not have a consistent third scorer to help Durant and Westbrook. Some nights it could be Ibaka, some nights it could be backup point guard Reggie Jackson. Oklahoma City blew a big lead to the Clippers in this past Sunday’s game. The Thunder allowed the Clippers to gain their first lead with literally two minutes left in the game. Thunder head coach Scott Brooks did not make any adjustments to their predictable offensive sets. The stubbornness of Brooks allowed the Clippers to constantly double team Durant, forcing multiple turnovers. The Thunder offense goes through two players no matter what the circumstances may be. The lack of a motion style of offense causes other players to stand around and watch.

If the Thunder would have kept James Harden, they would unquestionably have enough fire power to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. With no consistent third scorer in place, the Thunder will have to resort to playing great team defense. If coach Brooks can change his vanilla style of coaching, the Thunder could be a lot better. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are two core pieces to the Thunder’s puzzle. Can the Oklahoma City Thunder organization bring another star to help guide the team to their first championship since 1979, when they were known as “The Seattle Supersonics.”

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