Author Topic: Thunder Drafted 3 Future MVPs and Blew It by Losing 2 of Them  (Read 1039 times)

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Offline CelticsElite

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Anyone else have trouble wrapping around the fact that thunder drafted 3 future MVPs (durant, harden, Westbrook) , and they ended up only keeping 1 (the worst of the bunch)? That is a major GM and organizational failure

Its hard to comprehend because obtaining one mvp is hard enough for a team but they grabbed 3
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 10:44:38 AM by Redz »

Re: Thunder drafted 3 future MVPs and blew it by losing 2 of them
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2018, 09:09:55 PM »

Offline KGs Knee

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OKC screwed up by trading Harden.  If they were going to trade any one of the three, they should have traded Westbrook.  Had OKC kept Harden instead of Westbroook, they probably would have kept Durant too.

Re: Thunder drafted 3 future MVPs and blew it by losing 2 of them
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2018, 09:29:31 PM »

Offline BitterJim

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OKC screwed up by trading Harden.  If they were going to trade any one of the three, they should have traded Westbrook.  Had OKC kept Harden instead of Westbroook, they probably would have kept Durant too.

If they had kept the 3 of them together they'd have multiple rings (possibly even one before they had to pay Harden). That team was ridiculously young when they made the finals, if they could have hit their prime together... wow
I'm bitter.

Re: Thunder drafted 3 future MVPs and blew it by losing 2 of them
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2018, 09:34:22 PM »

Offline SHAQATTACK

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OKC screwed up by trading Harden.  If they were going to trade any one of the three, they should have traded Westbrook.  Had OKC kept Harden instead of Westbroook, they probably would have kept Durant too.

early on ....i could see he was easy next best to KD.   Ibaka was the odd man out for me .  Green seemed like a sure thing , but a waste of talent

Re: Thunder drafted 3 future MVPs and blew it by losing 2 of them
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2018, 09:34:43 PM »

Offline CelticSooner

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$4 million a year was the difference for OKC ownership. The 30 for 30 that team should be good.

Re: Thunder drafted 3 future MVPs and blew it by losing 2 of them
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2018, 09:25:35 AM »

Online Moranis

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$4 million a year was the difference for OKC ownership. The 30 for 30 that team should be good.
It wasn't 4 million per year, it was total (it was really 4.5 million).  The Thunder offered him a 4 year, 55.5 million dollar extension, Harden wanted the full max which at the time was 4 years, 60 million.  The Thunder were already paying Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka and decided to move on from Harden while they could still trade him rather then pay him the extra 1.25 million a year (which was all going to be in the luxury tax so it was really a lot more than that).  And the choice was never about KD or Russ, it was always going to be Harden or Ibaka and I can totally see the logic in keeping Ibaka over Harden (especially back then).  Also, to be fair, they did get Steven Adams out of the trade so it wasn't a total disaster even with Martin being there for a year and Lamb never fully developing.  At the end of the day, the ownership group should have just sucked it up and extended Harden or at least played out the year and let Harden enter restricted free agency.  There was no reason at all for them to trade Harden coming off the Finals appearance.  It was a mistake they never recovered from.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 09:31:02 AM by Moranis »

Re: Thunder drafted 3 future MVPs and blew it by losing 2 of them
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2018, 09:41:54 AM »

Offline Androslav

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We were talking about this phenomenon the year WB got his MVP - Media Valuability Prize.
At least they got the worse out of the 3.
IMO, it's better that way than to draft Noel and Okafor and get nothing. Houston at least got a good long-term starter in Adams from the Harden trade.
"The joy of the balling under the rims."

Re: Thunder drafted 3 future MVPs and blew it by losing 2 of them
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2018, 09:54:27 AM »

Offline Ogaju

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You can probably thank Metta World Peace in a way. He knocked Harden out during the playoffs and probably Harden was never the same when he played in the finals that year.

But for the Metta World Peace inflicted injury Harden would have shown more in the finals, they probably win the finals, and he would have been untradeable. JMO

That way they keep Harden, keep Durant, and they are GSW.

Re: Thunder drafted 3 future MVPs and blew it by losing 2 of them
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2018, 10:26:41 AM »

Offline johnnygreen

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I totally disagree that Westbrook was the worst of the three. For me, that designation still belongs to Harden. Durant and Westbrook have strong desires to win. Durant is even willing to sacrifice his numbers to get to that championship goal, and has become an elite defender. Westbrook wants to desperately win too, but wants to do it on his terms, and seems to give effort on both ends. I always have the impression that Harden would rather put up great numbers over winning, and could care less on defense. He is also too quick to blame everyone else and takes no responsibility for any of the teams failures. I would take Durant and Westbrook any day on the Celtics. I wouldn’t trade a second round pick for Harden.

Re: Thunder Drafted 3 Future MVPs and Blew It by Losing 2 of Them
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2018, 11:05:35 AM »

Offline moiso

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Westbrook is the worst of the three in my opinion.  I understand why they prioritized Ibaka very highly but he turned out to be a scrub compared to the others.  He got old early... or he's just old.

Re: Thunder Drafted 3 Future MVPs and Blew It by Losing 2 of Them
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2018, 12:42:54 PM »

Online bdm860

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In regards to not re-signing Harden, to be fair to Thunder ownership, the value of NBA teams hadn't hit the rapid increase in value that seams to be the new normal.

  • Clay Bennett bought the team in 2006 for $350m
  • Ownership had to pay $30m relocation fee to the NBA
  • Ownership had to pay $75m to city of Seattle to break their lease
  • In 2009, the first year in OKC, Forbes valued the team at $310m, so ownership is down $145m ($40m loss in value, $105m to relocate)
  • In 2012, when Harden was traded, Forbes valued the team at $348m, so ownership still down $100m+
  • It wasn't until 2013 when franchise values first started to really jump.  Thunder now worth $475m
  • And values jumped again in 2015 and 2018, when the Thunder were valued at $930m and $1.25b

https://www.statista.com/statistics/194668/franchise-value-of-the-oklahoma-city-thunder/

That's a CAGR (annual growth rate) of 5.9% for 2003-2012 vs a CAGR of 23.8% from 2012 to 2018.

Also the salary cap was in a period of minimal growth, and even decline.  From 2002 to 2013, the salary cap barely moved (when calculating in changes in purchasing power).  And the salary cap had actually decreased from it's high in 2009 (when team first moved to OKC) when compared to 2010-2014 or 2015 (depending on whether you're looking at real or current dollars).

https://www.basketball-reference.com/contracts/salary-cap-history.html

Just looking at some of the numbers, especially considering this was before the new TV deal was in place, I can see and also remember why small market owners had to really watch their pennies.

It looks terrible now, and I'm sure if Clay Bennett had a crystal ball he would have done things differently and paid Harden the max.   But at the time there was some reason to be concerned about losing money.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 01:18:07 PM by bdm860 »

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Re: Thunder Drafted 3 Future MVPs and Blew It by Losing 2 of Them
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2018, 01:43:35 PM »

Offline gift

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In regards to not re-signing Harden, to be fair to Thunder ownership, the value of NBA teams hadn't hit the rapid increase in value that seams to be the new normal.

  • Clay Bennett bought the team in 2006 for $350m
  • Ownership had to pay $30m relocation fee to the NBA
  • Ownership had to pay $75m to city of Seattle to break their lease
  • In 2009, the first year in OKC, Forbes valued the team at $310m, so ownership is down $145m ($40m loss in value, $105m to relocate)
  • In 2012, when Harden was traded, Forbes valued the team at $348m, so ownership still down $100m+
  • It wasn't until 2013 when franchise values first started to really jump.  Thunder now worth $475m
  • And values jumped again in 2015 and 2018, when the Thunder were valued at $930m and $1.25b

https://www.statista.com/statistics/194668/franchise-value-of-the-oklahoma-city-thunder/

That's a CAGR (annual growth rate) of 5.9% for 2003-2012 vs a CAGR of 23.8% from 2012 to 2018.

Also the salary cap was in a period of minimal growth, and even decline.  From 2002 to 2013, the salary cap barely moved (when calculating in changes in purchasing power).  And the salary cap had actually decreased from it's high in 2009 (when team first moved to OKC) when compared to 2010-2014 or 2015 (depending on whether you're looking at real or current dollars).

https://www.basketball-reference.com/contracts/salary-cap-history.html

Just looking at some of the numbers, especially considering this was before the new TV deal was in place, I can see and also remember why small market owners had to really watch their pennies.

It looks terrible now, and I'm sure if Clay Bennett had a crystal ball he would have done things differently and paid Harden the max.   But at the time there was some reason to be concerned about losing money.

Those are fair points to note. Conversely, though, the league anticipated increased franchise values and revenue as far back as the Harden trade. Cap rose more dramatically than anticipated and the Clippers sale price opened a lot of eyes, but they knew it was on the horizon.

Re: Thunder Drafted 3 Future MVPs and Blew It by Losing 2 of Them
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2018, 02:25:13 PM »

Online bdm860

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In regards to not re-signing Harden, to be fair to Thunder ownership, the value of NBA teams hadn't hit the rapid increase in value that seams to be the new normal.

  • Clay Bennett bought the team in 2006 for $350m
  • Ownership had to pay $30m relocation fee to the NBA
  • Ownership had to pay $75m to city of Seattle to break their lease
  • In 2009, the first year in OKC, Forbes valued the team at $310m, so ownership is down $145m ($40m loss in value, $105m to relocate)
  • In 2012, when Harden was traded, Forbes valued the team at $348m, so ownership still down $100m+
  • It wasn't until 2013 when franchise values first started to really jump.  Thunder now worth $475m
  • And values jumped again in 2015 and 2018, when the Thunder were valued at $930m and $1.25b

https://www.statista.com/statistics/194668/franchise-value-of-the-oklahoma-city-thunder/

That's a CAGR (annual growth rate) of 5.9% for 2003-2012 vs a CAGR of 23.8% from 2012 to 2018.

Also the salary cap was in a period of minimal growth, and even decline.  From 2002 to 2013, the salary cap barely moved (when calculating in changes in purchasing power).  And the salary cap had actually decreased from it's high in 2009 (when team first moved to OKC) when compared to 2010-2014 or 2015 (depending on whether you're looking at real or current dollars).

https://www.basketball-reference.com/contracts/salary-cap-history.html

Just looking at some of the numbers, especially considering this was before the new TV deal was in place, I can see and also remember why small market owners had to really watch their pennies.

It looks terrible now, and I'm sure if Clay Bennett had a crystal ball he would have done things differently and paid Harden the max.   But at the time there was some reason to be concerned about losing money.

Those are fair points to note. Conversely, though, the league anticipated increased franchise values and revenue as far back as the Harden trade. Cap rose more dramatically than anticipated and the Clippers sale price opened a lot of eyes, but they knew it was on the horizon.

Harden was traded on 10/27/12

The new TV deal was announced on 10/5/14 (and wouldn't go into effect until the '17 season, and there would be a new CBA in 2017 that their could have caused a lockout or strike).

While surely the owners knew something was in the pipeline, I doubt they knew 2 years out how much of a haul they'd be getting, and that it wouldn't cause problems at the negotiating table with the the players' union.

In fact, both Hornets/Pelicans and Grizzlies were sold just a few months before the Harden trade.  The Hornets/Pelicans sold for $338m in April 2012, and the Grizzlies were sold for $350m in June 2012.   Remember the Sonics/Thunder were bought for $350 six years earlier, so OKC is not seeing any evidence of an increase in value for small market teams. 

Also remember the Hornets/Pelicans were originally unable to find a buyer, so the NBA had to actually buy the Hornets from George Shinn, and the NBA owned the team for 1 1/2 years before it could find a buyer.

All that to say, owners and potential buyers did not know values and revenue were about to skyrocket at the time of the Harden trade.  If so owners wouldn't have sold during that period and/or buyers would be lining up to buy teams at higher prices.

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Re: Thunder Drafted 3 Future MVPs and Blew It by Losing 2 of Them
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2018, 02:35:59 PM »

Online Moranis

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In regards to not re-signing Harden, to be fair to Thunder ownership, the value of NBA teams hadn't hit the rapid increase in value that seams to be the new normal.

  • Clay Bennett bought the team in 2006 for $350m
  • Ownership had to pay $30m relocation fee to the NBA
  • Ownership had to pay $75m to city of Seattle to break their lease
  • In 2009, the first year in OKC, Forbes valued the team at $310m, so ownership is down $145m ($40m loss in value, $105m to relocate)
  • In 2012, when Harden was traded, Forbes valued the team at $348m, so ownership still down $100m+
  • It wasn't until 2013 when franchise values first started to really jump.  Thunder now worth $475m
  • And values jumped again in 2015 and 2018, when the Thunder were valued at $930m and $1.25b

https://www.statista.com/statistics/194668/franchise-value-of-the-oklahoma-city-thunder/

That's a CAGR (annual growth rate) of 5.9% for 2003-2012 vs a CAGR of 23.8% from 2012 to 2018.

Also the salary cap was in a period of minimal growth, and even decline.  From 2002 to 2013, the salary cap barely moved (when calculating in changes in purchasing power).  And the salary cap had actually decreased from it's high in 2009 (when team first moved to OKC) when compared to 2010-2014 or 2015 (depending on whether you're looking at real or current dollars).

https://www.basketball-reference.com/contracts/salary-cap-history.html

Just looking at some of the numbers, especially considering this was before the new TV deal was in place, I can see and also remember why small market owners had to really watch their pennies.

It looks terrible now, and I'm sure if Clay Bennett had a crystal ball he would have done things differently and paid Harden the max.   But at the time there was some reason to be concerned about losing money.

Those are fair points to note. Conversely, though, the league anticipated increased franchise values and revenue as far back as the Harden trade. Cap rose more dramatically than anticipated and the Clippers sale price opened a lot of eyes, but they knew it was on the horizon.

Harden was traded on 10/27/12

The new TV deal was announced on 10/5/14 (and wouldn't go into effect until the '17 season, and there would be a new CBA in 2017 that their could have caused a lockout or strike).

While surely the owners knew something was in the pipeline, I doubt they knew 2 years out how much of a haul they'd be getting, and that it wouldn't cause problems at the negotiating table with the the players' union.

In fact, both Hornets/Pelicans and Grizzlies were sold just a few months before the Harden trade.  The Hornets/Pelicans sold for $338m in April 2012, and the Grizzlies were sold for $350m in June 2012.   Remember the Sonics/Thunder were bought for $350 six years earlier, so OKC is not seeing any evidence of an increase in value for small market teams. 

Also remember the Hornets/Pelicans were originally unable to find a buyer, so the NBA had to actually buy the Hornets from George Shinn, and the NBA owned the team for 1 1/2 years before it could find a buyer.

All that to say, owners and potential buyers did not know values and revenue were about to skyrocket at the time of the Harden trade.  If so owners wouldn't have sold during that period and/or buyers would be lining up to buy teams at higher prices.
All true, but I still maintain there was absolutely no reason for the Thunder to trade Harden right before the season in 2012.  They could have played out that season and then matched any offer (or done a sign and trade) in the summer of 2013.  They could have moved him during the season and potentially received more value from a team rather then the more limited pickings in October.  They also could have just signed Harden to the extension and then just moved on from him the following summer if they still wanted to trade him (or maybe they are champs and run it back or decide that Ibaka is the guy to move or something else entirely).  Trading him at the end of October was just about the worst thing they could have done.  They did ok drafting with Adams and Abrines (though McGary was a disaster), but they just let Martin walk that following summer and Lamb really didn't work out for them at all (moved him for Ridnour and a 2nd rounder). 

Re: Thunder Drafted 3 Future MVPs and Blew It by Losing 2 of Them
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2018, 03:06:02 PM »

Online bdm860

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In regards to not re-signing Harden, to be fair to Thunder ownership, the value of NBA teams hadn't hit the rapid increase in value that seams to be the new normal.

  • Clay Bennett bought the team in 2006 for $350m
  • Ownership had to pay $30m relocation fee to the NBA
  • Ownership had to pay $75m to city of Seattle to break their lease
  • In 2009, the first year in OKC, Forbes valued the team at $310m, so ownership is down $145m ($40m loss in value, $105m to relocate)
  • In 2012, when Harden was traded, Forbes valued the team at $348m, so ownership still down $100m+
  • It wasn't until 2013 when franchise values first started to really jump.  Thunder now worth $475m
  • And values jumped again in 2015 and 2018, when the Thunder were valued at $930m and $1.25b

https://www.statista.com/statistics/194668/franchise-value-of-the-oklahoma-city-thunder/

That's a CAGR (annual growth rate) of 5.9% for 2003-2012 vs a CAGR of 23.8% from 2012 to 2018.

Also the salary cap was in a period of minimal growth, and even decline.  From 2002 to 2013, the salary cap barely moved (when calculating in changes in purchasing power).  And the salary cap had actually decreased from it's high in 2009 (when team first moved to OKC) when compared to 2010-2014 or 2015 (depending on whether you're looking at real or current dollars).

https://www.basketball-reference.com/contracts/salary-cap-history.html

Just looking at some of the numbers, especially considering this was before the new TV deal was in place, I can see and also remember why small market owners had to really watch their pennies.

It looks terrible now, and I'm sure if Clay Bennett had a crystal ball he would have done things differently and paid Harden the max.   But at the time there was some reason to be concerned about losing money.

Those are fair points to note. Conversely, though, the league anticipated increased franchise values and revenue as far back as the Harden trade. Cap rose more dramatically than anticipated and the Clippers sale price opened a lot of eyes, but they knew it was on the horizon.

Harden was traded on 10/27/12

The new TV deal was announced on 10/5/14 (and wouldn't go into effect until the '17 season, and there would be a new CBA in 2017 that their could have caused a lockout or strike).

While surely the owners knew something was in the pipeline, I doubt they knew 2 years out how much of a haul they'd be getting, and that it wouldn't cause problems at the negotiating table with the the players' union.

In fact, both Hornets/Pelicans and Grizzlies were sold just a few months before the Harden trade.  The Hornets/Pelicans sold for $338m in April 2012, and the Grizzlies were sold for $350m in June 2012.   Remember the Sonics/Thunder were bought for $350 six years earlier, so OKC is not seeing any evidence of an increase in value for small market teams. 

Also remember the Hornets/Pelicans were originally unable to find a buyer, so the NBA had to actually buy the Hornets from George Shinn, and the NBA owned the team for 1 1/2 years before it could find a buyer.

All that to say, owners and potential buyers did not know values and revenue were about to skyrocket at the time of the Harden trade.  If so owners wouldn't have sold during that period and/or buyers would be lining up to buy teams at higher prices.
All true, but I still maintain there was absolutely no reason for the Thunder to trade Harden right before the season in 2012.  They could have played out that season and then matched any offer (or done a sign and trade) in the summer of 2013.  They could have moved him during the season and potentially received more value from a team rather then the more limited pickings in October.  They also could have just signed Harden to the extension and then just moved on from him the following summer if they still wanted to trade him (or maybe they are champs and run it back or decide that Ibaka is the guy to move or something else entirely).  Trading him at the end of October was just about the worst thing they could have done.  They did ok drafting with Adams and Abrines (though McGary was a disaster), but they just let Martin walk that following summer and Lamb really didn't work out for them at all (moved him for Ridnour and a 2nd rounder).

I don't know really why I'm defending OKC here, but here goes:

An un-signed Harden would have less value as the season progressed.

You get peanuts in a sign-and-trade.

Having ongoing trade talks can torpedo locker room morale (IIRC, that was one of the the reasons the trade happened so quickly,  but can't find any sources with a quick google search now so I may be mis-remembering).

Harder to re-sign Harden then trade him due to matching salaries.  OKC didn't want to pay Harden because they were worried they couldn't afford the payroll.  How does trading Harden for similar salary really help the team here?  They wanted young cheap talent and flexibility, not expensive vets.  Harder to find that perfect mix of expiring contracts and rookie contracts/picks.


Hey I'm with you, I want my team (especially a small market one) to roll the dice and go for a championship, even if it means losing Harden for nothing.  I'm just saying I can see valid reasons behind the Thunders' moves. 

Also kind of think they were expecting Jeremy Lamb to turn into another Harden-like player (Thunder tried to get Beal first but Wizards turned them down, that would have worked).  One in the hand beats 2 in the bush though.  If Lamb had success like other Presti picks at the time (or they got Beal), maybe things would be different.

« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 03:12:22 PM by bdm860 »

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