Kevin Durant breaks his silence on James Harden’s Thunder Trading in 2012: “I didn’t really know how to handle it…”
After pushing the Miami Heat to 5 games in the 2012 NBA Finals, everything changed for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
A few months later, OKC would make a revolutionary move by trading one of its scorers, James Harden, to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and two first-round picks.
Considering who Harden would later become in Houston, this was long considered a major mistake by the Thunder.
But during a chat with JJ Redick on “The Old Man & The Three,” Kevin Durant didn’t criticize his former team for the move. Instead, he explained how little influence he had in these matters at the time.
“At that time, for example, I wasn’t really into the business side. I wasn’t really locked in with the front office to like, yo, let’s have a conversation about our team going forward. The talks hit me out of nowhere. So, like, I didn’t really know how to handle it at the time. So it was just like ‘I’m just focused on my work. Anyone who comes here to play, it’s cool.’ We had a good run we always had good players if it works for both teams let’s do it Because James came off the bench for us and then you see how he plays as a starter it was like ‘Hang on. Is that a good move?’ 4-5 years later it’s like even that first game he had about 37 winning games so in the moment it was like okay let’s move on we’re gonna focus on who we are have here.
According to Durant, his mentality changed as his career progressed. Today, he makes sure to voice his position on potential moves to the front office. At the time, however, a relationship with the Thunder did not exist at this level.
“I didn’t feel like I had that relationship with our GM to come in and have conversations like that. I just had to be down there with whatever they were doing. in free agency ‘it was just like, whoever they sign is whoever we sign and who we’re going to play with.”
Even after Harden left that summer, the Thunder had plenty of talent. Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and many others formed a team that made a lot of noise in the West. Unfortunately, they never made a comeback in the final.
Looking back, it’s crazy to think what could have happened if Sam Presti (Thunder GM since 2011) had made a different choice this offseason.