Originally Posted by DJ's left nut
He pulled a Belichick.
When Belichick traded Richard Seymour, he really hurt his team's chance to win a championship that year (and potentially undermined it altogether). He got very good value for the player, a guy he knew was likely to walk anyway, but in the process he took a very valuable contributor from his roster and diminished his championship chances substantially that season.
Presti did the same here. I'm not convinced that the Thunder a championship caliber team without Harden. Just like that Patriots team, they still have their motor and they still have his top dog running mate. They still have the look of a team that can win it all.
But the Pats desperately needed Seymour down the stretch and his absence was glaringly obvious against the Pats toughest opposition.
I applaud Presti for getting nice value for his player (though it's the NBA; first round picks past 10 are about like 3rd round picks in the NFL). That said, I almost wonder if he shouldn't have just held onto Harden, made his championship push and then done a sign/trade for less overall value in the offseason (but get one more season of Harden out of it).
These are all strong points. However, one of those first rounder picks is a guaranteed lottery pick, so who knows how well that will go.
Secondly, Harden was valuable because he was a strong scorer when Westbrook and Durant needed a breather. He became "the man" during those times and often opened up the game because of his ability to dish the ball.
Overall, I agree with your point that the Thunder are probably a little worse now, but Martin will score and provide a punch off the bench, and I'll rely on the past and future success of Presti in the draft. He did get Serge in the 20s.