Kevin Durant wants everyone to forget about the James Harden trade. If only it were that easy.
3:23 PM EDT on April 6, 2015
First of all, sorry about posting that picture. That's a shitty thing to do on a Monday following a tough Thunder loss. If you want to watch this video a few hundred times while moaning “Why! Why!! Whyyyyyyyy!!!” as tears roll down your face like the lady crying behind Kevin Durant as he hugged his family at the end of the 2012 NBA Western Conference Finals, I don’t blame you.
I’m not posting the pic because I’m mean. I’m doing it because the James Harden Trade (a.k.a. the worst moment in Oklahoma City sports history) came back to life yesterday. This was due to the Rockets visiting the Peake for an Easter matinee and this ridiculous Darnell Mayberry article that lists some reasons why the trade "will never die."
The article, which reads like a "branded news" piece purchased by The Thunder Ministry of Propaganda, caught the eye of Bill Simmons:
Bill has a point. The Thunder did not have to trade Harden when they did. They could have let him play the season out on his rookie contract and then either signed him as a RFA or traded him after the season. They also could have just done the right thing and signed the Beard to the max deal he deserved, named him a starter, and gone to war with a Durant – Westbrook – Harden triumvirate. Wouldn't that have been nice? You could have put them on the court with Renzi Stone and Tim Heskett and named Travis Ford their coach and they still would have won 60-games and multiple titles. I guess it made too much sense.
Simmons followed that observation with a series of "facts" about the trade. This caught the eye of Kevin Durant. He had a simple four word message for the self-proclaimed Sports Guy:
As a Thunder season ticket holder, I’ve thought the same thing many times. "Just Let It Go." Unfortunately, it’s usually part of an internal monologue I'm having with myself:
"Just let it go, Patrick. Let it go."
"But I can't. Did you see James Harden's stats?"
"Let it go. He's not coming back. He's gone."
"But why?! He was my favorite player! Why'd they trade him? We all knew he was an all star. Why would you trade a 23-year old all star entering his prime for a one year rental on Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb's neck and a bunch of unknowns? I guess Adams and McGary are okay but–"
"James Harden was greedy, Patrick. He was a selfish player who wanted max money and to be a starter."
"So what?! Then why not cave and make him a starter and give him max money?! Seems logical to me. Hey sixth man of the year. Here's your money and starting job. Now help us win a title, and provide some insurance in case Kevin or Russ get injured or bolt in free agency."
"We can't do that Patrick. He was a selfish, greedy, unpredictable person. Remember when he partied on that boat?"
"Wait a second. Even my internal voice isn't this dumb?! Who is this? Get out of my conscience!"
"This is Brian Davis with the Thunder Ministry of Propaganda! We control your thoughts like a stickman! You're safe with us. Also, don't forget it's time to start paying for your 2015-2016 season tickets. And remember, Thunder cares."
Okay, so the Thunder Ministry of Propaganda doesn't control my thoughts... yet. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. Based on what I see and hear on Twitter, talk radio, forums, and sport bars, there are a whole bunch of people out there with their heads in the sand buying the narrative that James Harden is a greedy, selfish player because he turned down a low-ball, below-market contract and wanted to star on his own team. It's a narrative that totally contradicts this...
And on this day, April 6th, 2015, Patrick used a Jenni Carlson column to prove a point. I'm going to have quite an internal monologue later. God help us all.
Actually, I think I'll be okay. The headline is very misleading. Carlson wasn't trying to paint James Harden as guy who wanted to be in OKC. She made him out to be the selfish fall guy that the Ministry of Propaganda wanted. Just check out this snippet:
James Harden says he wants to stay in Oklahoma City and play with the Thunder.
He reiterated as much Monday at Thunder media day.
“Of course I want to be here,” he said.
But the clock continues to tick. Harden and the Thunder must agree on terms to a contract extension by the end of this month. An offer has been made, the sides are talking, but if a deal is not done by Oct. 31, the versatile guard will be eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer.
If it gets to that point, there's no way the Thunder will be able to match the huge contract some team will surely offer him...
Harden repeated his willingness to sacrifice to stay with the Thunder, asserting that a max contract wasn't a necessity. He even went so far as to say he believed a deal would be done by the Oct. 31 deadline.
“That's why I'm not too worried about it,” he said.
Maybe the Thunder can re-sign Harden after all.
Notice how Jenni Carlson doesn't mention a word about the Thunder needing to "sacrifice" anything in order to keep an elite talent like James Harden? That's because she's a bad sportswriter who essentially serves as a mouthpiece for the team. Seriously, why's the onus always put on the player / worker? Isn't that a double-standard? Why is the team immune from sacrifice?
Anyway, when I decided to write about this I think I had a point. What was it? Oh, yeah - Kevin Durant wanting us to forget about the Harden trade.
Listen, KD. I think you're great. I want you to get healthy, feel better and win multiple titles in Oklahoma City, but it's really hard for me to "move on" when James Harden is playing like an MVP and you're dressed up like a Sith lord tweeting Bill Simmons about one of the worst trades in NBA history.
Also, it's pretty easy for you to tweet "Just Let It Go" when you can always leave for free agency next year and literally "Just Let It Go." We don't have that fortune. I'm going to be stuck here in Oklahoma City reading Jenni Carlson columns and having an internal monologue on whether or not to renew season tickets with a franchise that covets profits more than winning championships. It's shitty thing to think about on Monday afternoon. I guess I'll just watch that clip again, remember the good times, and cry like an Aaron Tuttle selfie. I could use the therapy.
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