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I get why everyone is saying that it was a terrible trade but here are a few things to put it into a better perspective:

1) OKC averaged 105.7 ppg this season. Last year they averaged 103.1 ppg. Their shooting percentages went up from 47.1/35.8 to 48.1/37.7. They averaged 18.8 assists to 16 turnovers last year. This year they averaged 21.4 assists to 14.6 assists.

2) Defensively their numbers were virtually the same. James Harden is a solid defender not a good one so they didn't miss him much there.

3) Both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant improved as facilitators and proved to be clutch down the stretch without Harden.

Bottom line, the Thunder gave James Harden a very good offer. It's easy to criticize them for being cheap but as a small market team they simply CANNOT survive if they are paying significant luxury tax dollars. If they had signed him, they would be handcuffed to the four main players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka) and would have virtually no flexibility to sign any role players, in addition to paying significant taxes.

Call me crazy, but I actually think this was a better team without James Harden. Having three ball dominate players, two of which (Westbrook and Harden) don't play particularly well off the ball, stunted this team's growth. But I guess with Westbrook's injury we'll never really know.