The latest word buzzing around NBA circles is that the Charlotte Bobcats are looking to trade out of the No. 2 position in the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft. Given the high nature of the pick and the depth of the draft, a team is guaranteed an impact starter like Thomas Robinson from Kansas or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky or perhaps Andre Drummond of Kentucky. But is that enough to lure a team’s veteran star? It shouldn’t be if it’s James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports recently posted the rumor that Harden could potentially be moved for a high draft asset like Charlotte’s if the Bobcats liked Harden enough to make the move and if the Thunder didn’t want to approach luxury tax territory. Certainly Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to get paid, and that means the team must make a decision on stars like Harden and Serge Ibaka.
It’s possible that one of the two must go if the team wants to stay below the salary cap threshold established by the new collective bargaining agreement. Thus, on paper, it makes sense to say that Harden could be deemed expendable. But that’s a foolish scenario.
In short, the Bobcats should pull the trigger on this trade in a heartbeat if it were presented. Harden is already a star and yet he could truly flourish if made the primary player on an offensive unit. He’s a well-rounded athlete with no real weaknesses whose best game is yet to come. But the Thunder should never even think offering Harden up — even if he’s going to cost them money.
The reality is that no one in the NBA can stop the Oklahoma City Thunder as they are currently set up. With Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and Harden, the team has the perfect core construction to make a long run at the best NBA dynasties. They are undefeated at home in the 2012 NBA Playoffs and are currently up in the Finals — a chance for the first of many NBA championship rings.
To break this up makes no sense. It’s akin to a someone breaking up with their mate because they are paranoid of possible future heartbreak. It’s a "beat the bad news to the punch" sort of move that Sam Presti will likely never think of making. The OKC front office is keenly aware of the beauty of the current roster and they’d be ridiculous to even mess with it.
Is it possible the team could continue its run of dominance with Thomas Robinson instead? Certainly. The Thunder will be a great team with or without Harden on the floor — especially with a top draft asset in addition. However, they are already the NBA’s best team. They will be the NBA’s best team next season and likely the next few seasons beyond that. What’s the point of making a move just to make a move?
Sometimes the best step a person can take is staying right where they are. The Thunder are sitting in the driver’s seat in the NBA for the next half decade. It makes no sense to make a move and the genius minds behind the make-up of the current roster aren’t also foolish enough to tear it apart.