The Oklahoma City Thunder Gave James Harden An Ultimatum Before They Traded Him

James Harden

Photo: Turner Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti tried to strike a deal with James Harden beginning in July, before making one final offer this weekend.Presti offered Harden a four-year deal worth $54 million on Friday and gave him an hour to accept, and if he didn’t he would be traded to the Houston Rockets, according to The Oklahoman. Harden wanted more time to decide, but the deal was consummated Saturday.

Harden was devastated when he learned the news, and we can speculate why.

It’s likely because he doesn’t want to leave the close-knit Thunder team behind, but it could be partly because he didn’t believe Presti would go through with it.

But Presti had to. If he waited any longer, the Rockets would have to fight to sign him to a long-term deal before Wednesday’s deadline. Ultimately, the trade couldn’t happen from the Rockets’ perspective if Presti had waited.

Both parties are arguably in a better place because of the trade. The Thunder gains some financial flexibility and gets a capable player in Kevin Martin, while Harden is expected to get a max deal and become the face of the franchise alongside Jeremy Lin.

And Harden has warmed a bit to the situation since arriving in Houston, according to The Houston Chronicle:

“To be secure, I feel like I’m in a great position with a great team, young guys who want to work hard,” Harden said. “It will work itself out.

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