When the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets it surprised most people.
Despite rumors that it would be very hard to keep Harden in OKC, it was still hard to fathom the Thunder letting go of him.
In the days following the trade, one of the things we learned as to why the trigger was pulled on dealing the Beard was that Thunder GM Sam Presti really loved the deal OKC was getting back from the Rockets.
Sure, it was a good deal. We all can agree on that. They definitely didn’t let Harden walk for nothing receiving multiple first-round draft picks, Kevin Martin and a lottery pick in Jeremy Lamb.
But Presti may actually be in the minority in loving this trade so much. At least, among his peers.
“I’ve yet to find another GM in the league who liked that deal for the Thunder, which is rare given the high level of respect everyone (including me) has for Sam Presti,” Chad Ford of ESPN wrote.
It was a tough deal to make and there is a difference between liking a deal for a team and saying if it was the right move to make.
Losing Harden immediately makes the Thunder seem like less of a contender to return to the NBA Finals. While in the long-term, it’s hard to argue that they aren’t better off.
The interesting thing here is whether or not other GM’s would have made this same move if they were in the same situation Presti is. It’s true that normally it’s hard to question something Presti does but this is a different case where it’s harder to understand for some.
Thunder fans have no choice but to stay on the “In Presti We Trust” bandwagon. There’s no sense regretting the move now and wishing Harden was still around.
The Thunder are 9-3 on the year so far with a better winning percentage than they had last season. It’s still awfully early in the year, but despite a learning curve with so many new guys we are still seeing progression with this team.