What will the Oklahoma City Thunder do next? After losing the 2012 NBA Finals, the young core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka among others seems like a dynasty in the making. As they say, if it ain't broke...
However, the Thunder also are going to be well over the luxury tax if the team decides to extend both Harden and Ibaka to keep the four player core intact. That might prove to be a bit too pricey and both Harden and Ibaka would make incredible trade assets at this point for their youth, on-court ability and experience. That makes Harden and Ibaka potential trade partners for many NBA rumors now that the offseason is officially upon us.
Harden has already been mentioned in other trade rumors for the Charlotte Bobcats second overall selection in the NBA Draft. Now Tom Haberstroh of ESPN says they could add a veteran point guard to push Westbrook over and create the backcourt of a lifetime. They could go after Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns.
Haberstroh writes, "It isn't and here's why: the Thunder could flip Harden (an Arizona State product, remember) to Phoenix in a sign-and-trade deal for Nash and Marcin Gortat. The Thunder have the contracts to make the money work (Kendrick Perkins and Daequan could be thrown in) and the Suns could get their young stud of the future without letting Nash go for nothing."
Would the Thunder trade Harden for such a risky veteran. That's quite a jump in age and injury risk instead of going in the other direction. A younger star seems like a better move than Nash. However, the possibilities that would exist with such a trio make for an interesting mix that would certainly become the Western Conference favorites once again.
The Thunder definitely have some big decisions to make, even if it's to stand pat. Until fans know one way or the other, expect "rumors" like this to float around because the possibilities are simply too much fun to play with.