Harden was dealt late Saturday night to the Houston Rockets instead obviously.
One of the reasons Thunder GM Sam Presti pulled the trigger on the trade with Houston was because he really loved the deal the Thunder were getting back in Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first round draft picks and one second round pick.
It was a good haul for the Thunder and a deal Charlotte probably would not have been able to come close to. The Bobcats definitely could have involved the No. 2 overall pick from the 2012 NBA Draft, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, in a trade with the Thunder for Harden but they wouldn’t have had much else to offer.
Maybe they could have included DeSagana Diop’s and Reggie Williams’ expiring contracts with some draft picks too. Diop could have replaced Aldridge and given OKC more depth at center this season which is important with Dwight Howard’s arrival with the Lakers this season. Williams is a very good outside shooter who would have probably made the rotation.
Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t exactly the young player OKC would have wanted though. They’d rather try and replace Harden with someone who can play the two and shoot from the outside. Martin can do that this year and Lamb in the future.
There was a trade rumor back before the NBA Draft linking Charlotte and Harden. It was for the No. 2 overall pick with the idea that Presti really liked Bradley Beal and would have wanted to take him with that pick. That ended up being nothing but a rumor although Beal is a rookie who could have the potential to replace Harden better than Lamb down the road.
Had the Thunder known back before the NBA Draft that they were going to trade Harden before the season, maybe they consider that potential deal a little more. Beal ended up being picked 3rd overall by the Washington Wizards. In his debut Tuesday night vs. Cleveland, he played 22 minutes and scored just eight points but made his first two 3-point attempts in the game.