Bill Hader was on the B.S. Report today and talked about a lot of stuff. But at the 46-minute mark the Tulsa native got into his favorite team and discussed the heartbreak of the Finals, the Harden trade and Kevin Durant.
“It’s been terrible,” Hader said of life post-Beard. And then he caught himself perfectly and realized it. “No, it’s not terrible. It’s not terrible. When Westbrook hurt his knee though, that’s when we were like, I was watching it with my dad and we were like, ‘Well, that’s it.’”
That’s the Thunder’s 2012-13 season summarized near to perfection. Trading Harden made everything horrible, except for the fact the Thunder were really good still and had a chance to win it all until Russell Westbrook got hurt.
I love Hader’s first question about Kendrick Perkins, though. It represented every misinformed fan over the last year and how they don’t completely understand how Perk’s contract played a factor into the Harden thing. The way Hader asked, it’s almost like he genuinely thought that the Thunder picked having Kendrick Perkins over James Harden.
Since Simmons didn’t answer it, allow me: No. Perk’s contract had nothing to do with trading Harden. Because Harden’s extension wouldn’t have began until this summer, Perk’s deal had absolutely zero impact on the Thunder negotiating with him. Now, had Harden signed his $55 million offer with OKC, there’s a good chance the Thunder would’ve amnestied Perk this summer to avoid the luxury tax as much as possible. But at the time the deal was made, nope. Perk’s contract had nothing to do with it.
A lot of people want Simmons to just let the trade go and move on, but I see why he keeps bringing it up. It’s kind of a fascinating trade. And one with a big shelf-life, because with Westbrook’s injury, it’s opened the door for years and years of what-ifs that will never get answers.
Five leftover thoughts:
1) Adding Perk’s contract to the deal. Yeah. That would’ve been a pretty good idea.
2) I’ve said from the beginning that I thought it was a mistake to trade Harden in October, despite still understanding the reasons for the deal. I always thought it was worth rolling the dice and then playing out the season to see what happened. Now, a lot of things factored in to Presti pulling the plug when he did. He felt the most value he could get was while Harden could sign a five-year designated player extension, and wanted to wash his hands of this as early as possible. Harden and his agent made it clear from the very beginning of what they wanted, and had really no intention of re-signing the next summer unless the Thunder paid him every dollar he wanted. Even then, there was a desire to be the featured player.
Still, you’d have to think that the Rockets, especially with Daryl Morey’s thirst for a star, would have given up the No. 12 pick and Jeremy Lamb for a sign-and-traded Harden after the season, right? Maybe you could’ve even dumped Perk’s contract then to make salaries match. Maybe I’m just like Bill Hader and don’t really get it.
4) Again, that’s the thing with this trade. The conversation about it is never-ending because there are so many unknowns about it. I feel like in 15 years when the dust completely settles and players retire and there’s appropriate distance from it and people are willing to talk, there’s a 400-page book I need to write only about the Harden deal.
4) That Mario Chalmers-LeBron story was priceless.
5) Jeremy Lamb better be good.