After being traded away from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets, shooting guard James Harden has flourished into one of the NBA’s superstar players.
With the opportunity to lead his own team and not having to share the ball with his former counterparts Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, who are equally as skilled in the scoring department, Harden has slowly progressed from a Sixth Man of the Year winner in OKC to MVP candidate in Houston, currently leading the team to a league-best 52-14 record alongside free-agent pickup Chris Paul.
But what if Harden was never traded to Houston in the first place?
That’s right, according to Bill Simmons on his podcast, James Harden was almost traded to the Golden State Warriors in 2012 in exchange for Klay Thompson, but as history has already told us, the two parties could not come to an agreement on the supporting pieces of the trade.
James Harden was almost traded to Golden State in 2012 for Klay Thompson and a Pick, but Sam Presti was reluctant to take on Andris Biedrins’ contract in deal. pic.twitter.com/0Kt5gLe6TG
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 11, 2018
The main reason Harden was being shopped years ago in the first place was due to Sam Presti — OKC’s general manager — and ownership not wanting to pay Harden when he hit free agency in 2013, so it’s no surprise that the deal fell through due to Oklahoma City’s cheapness.
On top of not wanting to take on Andris Biedrin’s $9 million contract, the Thunder also wanted draft picks that the Warriors were not willing to give up, meaning Presi began taking other offers, leading to James Harden heading to Houston.
Due to the nature of how both teams panned out afterward though, this potential trade will definitely go down as a huge ‘what-if’. Would the Warriors be the in same position they’re in today if they traded away Klay, or would we be looking at another ‘choose between Curry and Ellis’ situation between Steph and James? How would Klay have fit in Oklahoma’s offensive system, would he be half the player he is today, or perhaps even better with Russ setting the table for him? And what about LeBron? If the Warriors never became the powerhouse they are today because of the trade, could we be looking at LeBron James, the 5-time NBA champ?
These are all questions that we’ll, unfortunately, never know the answer to.