Would the Oklahoma City Thunder really consider trading James Harden, one of their three or so most important players, for a high selection in the 2012 NBA Draft?
The consensus No. 3 pick overall pick, Bradley Beal, sure seems to think so.
A few weeks back, while OKC was still fighting for a shot at the title, rumors emerged that team management was looking into a move that would send Harden elsewhere for a high draft selection in today’s big event. Even though Harden was expected to command huge money this summer, and despite the fact that his production noticeably waned as the postseason progressed, talk of the Thunder dealing him seemed ridiculous.
The chances of a playoff team getting Beal are slim, but Finals runner-up Oklahoma City has invested quality time figuring out a way to get up high enough to land Beal.
Beal told ESPN.com Wednesday that Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti told him during an interview in Chicago that he was interested in trying to move up to draft him. The Thunder's first-round pick isn't until No. 28.
"He told me he was going to decide what they're going to do and considered getting up there," Beal said.
I've heard it a lot," Beal said of the Thunder scenario. "It's really interesting. I would love to play with Kevin Durant. (Russell) Westbrook, great point guard. Just the whole team. It's young -- I would love to play with a young team. They play fast. I'd love to get up and down, shoot the ball. Overall, whatever situation I Iand in I'll be happy."
That’s pretty huge. Not because it confirms that the speculation was real (though it does do that), but because it also ups Beal’s value. OKC management is tops in the league – their track record proves this much. If they saw enough in the one-and-done Florida star to drop Harden for him, that’s a pretty massive compliment.
Will anything ultimately come of this? Probably not. But it’s very interesting that the Thunder looked into making this move. Very interesting.