James Harden has already proven that he is capable of success outside of Oklahoma City. Before he was traded to the Houston Rockets, there were worries that Harden was just a product of a system, playing opposite two of the best players in the game and he would flounder if he had to carry a team.
The Rockets are not blowing away the competition by any means, but at just a game under .500, they are doing better than most would have predicted before the season started. Harden is exceeding expectations as well, averaging 25 points a game, good for fifth best in the NBA.
So anyone who wanted to make the argument that Harden wasn’t worth the price really doesn’t have a leg to stand on anymore.
One of the people who did not want to pay up the big bucks was Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. Apparently, the Thunder contacted the Wizards about trading Harden for rookie Bradley Beal and second-year forward Chris Singleton but Leonsis did not want to pay Harden’s five-year max contract.
At the time, it probably seemed like a big gamble to give up two young, talented players and commit that much money to a guy that you couldn’t be sure about what he would do for your team. In retrospect, it’s probably a big regret, especially for a Wizards team currently with the worst record in the league.
Harden was asked before the game against the Wizards on Wednesday night if he knew they had passed on him. He didn’t, and when he was told, it didn’t seem to interest him too much.
“No. I don’t get bothered or intrigued by stuff like that, no,” Harden said. “I mean, I guess I wasn’t a fit for that organization or whatever they are moving forward to. What I can control is me going out there and playing my hardest and helping my team win games.”
Probably best for all parties involved to try not to dwell in the past and just move on. Hindsight is always 20/20, but you should always be looking ahead.