Thunder Need To Be Careful, Patient

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’ll keep this warning for the Oklahoma City Thunder brief, since everyone has plenty of other stuff on their plate on Draft day.

Be careful. And be patient.

Don’t be hasty in whatever decisions you make tonight and in the immediate future.

We’re sending this warning to Thunder fans really, because the sting of defeat in The Finals lingers. It’s an impossible taste to get out of your mouth. We know because we’ve seen it before. We’ve watched teams overreact and make rash decisions and pay for them later, as Thunder general manager Sam Presti and his staff are surely aware of.

We’ve seen all of these reports about the Thunder’s infatuation with Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, some generated anonymously but most of them fueled by Beal’s own words:

This year, on the eve of what was shaping up to be the least suspenseful first round in the franchise’s Oklahoma City era, a report surfaced that said the Thunder has sought to trade into the top three.

The supposed target: Florida guard Bradley Beal.

It’s the second report in the past two weeks that has connected the Thunder with trying to move into the top three. Typically, where there is smoke around this time of the year there is, well, more smoke. But the Thunder can’t seem to shake this cloud of speculation.

And this time, the player provided a firsthand account of Presti’s plans.

“He told me he was going to decide what they’re going to do and considered getting up there,” Beal told on Wednesday, relaying a conversation he had with Presti during an interview at the draft combine in Chicago.

In response to these reports (which are cute but have no legs, according to the folks we’ve spoken to regarding the Thunder), we’ll take this time to remind everyone of the Orlando Magic’s actions in the wake of their unsuccessful trip to The Finals in 2009.

Hedo Turkoglu, a key component in helping Dwight Howard get the Magic to The Finals that year, was not re-signed. Rookie shooting guard Courtney Lee was an integral part of their run to The Finals and they traded him away as part of a deal to land Vince Carter from the Nets.

The Magic tinkered with championship chemistry, assuming they could do so and stay in the title mix and haven’t gone anywhere near there since. They did irreparable damage to their chemistry in the weeks and months after that trip to The Finals, damage that they are still paying for now.

The Thunder have more pressing issues — James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor are priorities — than trying to trade up 26 spots in the Draft to get any player not named Anthony Davis.

Again, the Thunder need not do anything crazy tonight or in the coming days and weeks.

Patience is a virtue this time of year, especially for teams with championships on their minds.


  1. josh says:

    OKC need to trade R. Westbrook in sign both harden and ibaka bacause westbrook is not consistent player and take to many shot than Durant…. westbrook is crocs

    • Bball247 says:

      Not a good idea lol, I’m just saying that westbrook is in the top 5 best PGs…period.

  2. Michael says:

    OKC has a difficult decision because of the contracts they gave to Durant and Westbrook and with Harden & Ibaka both showing they are worth max deals, OKC can only afford to give the deal to one of them and they are leaning on giving that deal to Ibaka because of what he does on the defensive end, so rather than losing Harden for nothing they were shopping around and see what they could possibly get, i.e. get the #2 or #3 pick and get Beal. Now, many NBA players always say it is not about the money….BS. These players only want the max deals, they don’t want to play for cheap. Miami will be in the same situation here soon when the rules of the new CBA go into affect and tax the hell out of the teams that are over the cap. This is not something OKC wants to deal with, and I would agree with the decision of Ibaka over Harden because getting a solid big man in todays league is scarce.

  3. burr says:

    why would any team want to trade for harden, unless he signs an extension, because he only has one year left in his contract, and can leave via free agency after this season

  4. old school spurs says:

    keeping harden and ibaka isn’t too hard if you off load perkins!

    • David Jordan says:

      I agree old school…Perkins had some value against the Lakers and Spurs, but was pathetic against the smaller and quicker Heat. Bosh tore him up. he can’t score to save his life, and he can’t cover a big with an outside shot or above average quickness off the dribble. Trade him for Meyers Leonard or Tyler Zeller, use the cap space to resign Harden and Ibaka. Ibaka can play some center while the new big learns the system and Collison has proven he can play 20-30 minutes a game as power forward.

  5. Rocabye says:

    Well its a win-win for Harden and OKC. Let’s face it, Harden would love to make more money and get the chance to lead his own team…as in be a starter. He’s not a 6th man sort of guy, even though he’s cooperated really well in that role. OKC gets a guy in Beal that can play well and will cost a lot less. Harden gets to go be a star and gets paid more. Everyone wins. Kinda. Harden was a great playmaker for OKC so that will be a bit of a blow. Russell is getting better in that category though so we’ll see.

  6. Harden is Gone!!! says:

    He wrote his ticket with his performance in the Finals. We all know he can start on every team in this league and next year he’ll be worth triple his salary. Too expensive to keep in this new cba. Trade him while he’s the 6th man and get a high pick in the draft that can do essentially the same thing. He wont have Finals written all over him but it sure opens up shots for the clutchest performer(next to Kobe) in the game KD. Now Im a Bulls and Heat fan through and through, and in the finals James was the one i was worried about the most, BUT HE NEVER SHOWED UP!!! Whew….Beal is a good fit and having older brothers, has a direct benefit to him fitting in and playing a role. (Wait your turn, do it right, etc. etc.)

  7. matt says:

    why is it so hard to not be a frontrunner. james harden played outstanding most of the season and playoffs. struggled against miami and now everyone wants to ship him out. last season it was westbrook they should get rid of. lets stop dumping on a guy for a bad stretch of games and understand if harden gets moved it’s because they know they won’t be able to pay him a decent contract. Or ibaka for that matter. harden is young and an absolute baller with a high basketball iq. certified with chemistry. anything else would just be a gamble with less than favourable odds.

    • hooplover says:

      i wish there were a like button! had miami not won the championship, they would have wanted to trade lbj! it’s so wishy-washy! no way could i turn my baqk on my team or it’s players because of an off season. diehard means just that, diehard!

    • Bball247 says:

      Agreed matt, he did really well throughout until game 3, 4, and 5 of the finals. They’re a YOUNG team, they will get the hang of it. They’re a force with all their star players in early and mid 20’s, that’s scary dude…

  8. Nick says:

    Don’t know why OKC wouldn’t keep its core, and try to sign Brandon Roy if the rumours are true and that he is in as good a shape as reports say, it gives them another scorer, who can defend, and create for Durant and Westbrook, while trying to draft another Ibaka type player at 28 when they drafted Ibaka with the 24th pick.

    • Bball247 says:

      The reports never said he was in “good shape”, they said “IF he can get in good shape, etc.”. Plus, he’s a shooting guard and then they would have three shooting guards. He’ll most likely be someone’s sixth man, or starter (I possibly see him going to the bulls if in good shape).

  9. If you think trading Harden to get Beal makes sense, you aren’t cut out for a management position in the NBA.

  10. Karlo Garcia says:

    It will b unfortunate if OKC trades James Harden but it is business at the end of the day.

  11. eddie says:

    the thunder destroyed the lakers?
    how can you say they destroyed the lakers when theyonly lost by a few points in game 2 ( on the road) and game 4( at home) omg they got soo destroyed by the thunder. i hope the thunder trades harden rather then ibaka but who knows…

  12. Bugegong69 says:

    harden should shave his smelly beard,,,,watch OKC , Lakers will beat you!!! No way you gonna beat Lakers again. Losers!!!

  13. Robert says:

    I heard rumors that OKC wasing trying to trade Harden to the Wizards for the 3rd pick in the draft. Is this true?

  14. Dom says:

    He has a big brain, and OJ Mayo’s body and that means that he will be a very successful basketball player.

  15. Tate says:

    Different circumstances

    Different cba

    & you have to remember who made those moves: Otis ‘I’m playing with lots of money w/ no self control’ Smith.

    You would tinker with chemistry with the one player who flamed out in the finals, who is the topic of Ibaka or Harden to trade/keep and someone off the bench.

    Yes we all know he played a lot of minutes & closed out the game.


    Turk was the reason why the Magic could work so well at that time, shooting threes, handling the ball, height, match up problems for teams etc…..

    Call me crazy but i’m pretty sure KD, Russ & the 2 bigs can still hold down the fort w/o Harden & with a rookie who is about the same size of Harden, can possibly do the same things for millions cheaper the next few years.

    Also, stick with the same team too long & don’t win, a players trade value may be decreased, ugly break up can happen & you can possibly keeped getting talked into the ‘one more year together’, ‘we can make it happen’ chatter.

    All in all…..don’t compare the Magic & Thunder.