If you go back to the days leading up to the 2012 NBA Draft, you’ll remember a trade rumor emerging that linked the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Charlotte Bobcats.
The rumor involved the Thunder sending James Harden to Charlotte for the No. 2 overall pick. The deal of course never went down.
“If there are opportunities to make this team better via trade, we will do that,” he says. (He also denied that the Bobcats ever seriously discussed trading the no. 2 pick in the 2012 draft, which became Kidd-Gilchrist, to the Thunder for James Harden.)
At the time, it was kind of laughed at for the Thunder to consider trading Harden to the Bobcats for that pick. But now, considering what OKC received in return for Harden in the trade to Houston, that No. 2 pick sounds pretty good.
The idea behind picking at No. 2 was that Sam Presti really liked Bradley Beal and would have selected him at that spot.
What the Thunder would have had now if they had made that trade would be Beal instead of Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams (also no Kevin Martin last year). Beal had a pretty impressive rookie season while Lamb and Adams are still unproven. We don’t know yet which will have the better future, but Lamb and Adams definitely have a chance to outdo Beal.
It’s amazing that the Bobcats never seriously considered this deal and that they essentially thought getting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the time was a better move than going all-in for Harden.
I know a lot of people like to say now that we didn’t know how good Harden was going to be on his own as “the man.” That’s just not true. Harden was amazing his last season with the Thunder. Maybe there were questions of how he could do on his own but his talent and ability was certainly one of the most elite in the league.
I’m not sure yet if I would prefer Beal to Lamb and Adams. I think Lamb could be as good as Beal, but maybe I’m being optimistic. Only time will tell.