Skip to content

Did Warriors, Wizards turn down James Harden deals?

Mar 15, 2013, 6:10 PM EDT

James Harden AP

Whether you choose to believe this or not really comes down to how much you believe in ESPN’s Bill Simmons.

But NBA trades do not work where a potential available player is only discussed with one team. If a GM is shopping — or even just testing the market — for a specific player then that idea is bounced off a number of teams. You don’t buy a new car by just showing up at the dealer and taking the price he offers, you check online and get a sense of the price of the car from multiple places before making a purchase. Trades work more like that.

So you can be sure that the Rockets were not the only team James Harden was shopped to before the season. The Rockets just jumped at it and had the best deal. But in his column at Grantland about the worst salaries in the NBA (which is admittedly a week old) Simmons threw in this nugget. (Hat tip to The Big Lead for finding this, I didn’t read the column.)

Multiple sources have told me that, when Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti decided to shop James Harden, Golden State was his first call. He wanted Klay Thompson and a pick. The Warriors would only consider the trade if Oklahoma City took back Biedrins or Jefferson for 2013 expirings, knowing they’d get crushed by the luxury tax in 2014 with Harden’s extension plus Steph Curry’s extension plus David Lee plus Bogut/Jefferson/Biedrins.13 At that point, Presti went to Washington (offering Harden for Bradley Beal, and unbelievably getting turned down), then Houston (where the shopping heated up). Presti never ended up calling Golden State back.

Again, what you think of this depends on what you think of Simmons. The Wizards news isn’t new. You can be sure Presti didn’t just talk to Daryl Morey about the deal, but trades also don’t happen in quite the linear fashion described. There is back and forth over time and usually one option being explored heats up. You can believe what you want, there likely is some truth here at least.

The other thing of note: When this trade went down the question was “How good is James Harden, really?” No doubt he was good, the guy had gone to the finals the year before as a key cog for the Oklahoma City Thunder. But the question was could he be a franchise anchor? He could be a No. 2, a No. 1A maybe, but in OKC Kevin Durant is the Alpha Dog. There were legitimate questions about how Harden would perform when thrown into that role.

Turns out, Harden can be the alpha dog. The guy you can build a franchise around. And the Wizards and Warriors could use a guy like that.

Latest Posts
  1. Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy to appear in CNBC documentary

    May 21, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    Image (1) donaghy-thumb-250x140-11779.jpg for post 2008

    Donaghy was sent to prison for betting on NBA games while he was employed as a league official.

  2. Isiah Thomas hasn’t talked to Phil Jackson ‘because of the perception’

    May 21, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    Isiah Thomas Isiah Thomas

    Thomas is now running New York’s WNBA team, but many feel it’s just a matter of time before he’s back in some capacity with the Knicks.

  3. PBT Extra: No DeMarre Carroll leaves Hawks in tough spot

    May 21, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    This is now a team without its two best wing defenders.

  4. PBT Extra: J.R. makes case for hot hand theory, is loved in Cleveland

    May 21, 2015, 4:59 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One Getty Images

    If the NBA gave points for degree of difficulty, how much more valuable would he be?

  5. Pelicans’ Tyreke Evans undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery

    May 21, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors - Game One Getty Images

    Evans should be good to go by the start of training camp next season.

  6. PBT Extra: Draft Lottery winers start with Lakers

    May 21, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    2012 NBA Draft Lottery 2012 NBA Draft Lottery

    Lakers fans feel the basketball gods owed them after a few brutal years of injuries; fans of 29 other NBA teams would beg to differ.

  7. Mitch Kupchak on Lakers’ reported interest in Tom Thibodeau: “Nothing to it”

    May 21, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    2014-15 KIA Most Improved Player Award 2014-15 KIA Most Improved Player Award

    A report surfaced Wednesday suggesting they were planning on pursuing the Bulls coach.

  8. Stephen Curry, LeBron James unanimous choices, lead All-NBA First Team

    May 21, 2015, 12:01 PM EDT

    Stephen Curry AP

    Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol and James Harden round out the first team.

  9. Mavericks president on Rick Carlisle: ‘He can be in Dallas as long as he wants to be’

    May 21, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four Getty Images

    Carlisle is an excellent coach, but this type of job security is nearly unprecedented

Featured video

Small ball lineup propelled Warriors to Game 1 win
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Irving (5986)
  2. K. Love (5131)
  3. P. Beverley (4664)
  4. D. Howard (4173)
  5. S. Curry (3953)
  1. K. Durant (3579)
  2. M. Speights (3542)
  3. K. Bryant (3375)
  4. L. James (3360)
  5. R. Rondo (3138)