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Klay Thompson for James Harden? What could not have been

Bill Simmons of ESPN implied that a Klay Thompson + filler for James Harden trade was talked about at a certain point. This, of course, got the Warriors fan base riled up. But Tim Kawakami is here to make sense of everything.

Would Harden look good in a Warriors jersey? We'll never know.
Would Harden look good in a Warriors jersey? We'll never know.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

When the Sports Guy writes something, we usually read it. He's one of the two reasons I started reading on a daily basis. That, and Harry Potter. I'm not the most complex of human beings.

But here's the real killer. Multiple sources have told me that, when Oklahoma City's Sam Presti decided to shop James Harden, Golden State was his first call. He wanted Klay Thompson and a pick. The Warriors would only consider the trade if Oklahoma City took back Biedrins or Jefferson for 2013 expirings, knowing they'd get crushed by the luxury tax in 2014 with Harden's extension plus Steph Curry's extension plus David Lee plus Bogut/Jefferson/Biedrins.13 At that point, Presti went to Washington (offering Harden for Bradley Beal, and unbelievably getting turned down), then Houston (where the shopping heated up). Presti never ended up calling Golden State back.

Bill Simmons wrote that in his worst contracts of the NBA. This bit of news was somehow just a part of a long list of Warriors travesties in that article. If you didn't know, Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins, and Richard Jefferson made the eighth, seventh, and sixth spots on the list, respectively. But no! He doesn't stop there, going on to list the Charlie Bell amnesty, Bogut injury, and whatever hell else he could find to kick a struggling team deeper underwater.

But none of that was anything new. The Thompson for Harden potential deal was, however, new, and odd. We found out several months ago that the Washington Wizards decided to keep Bradley Beal over trading and paying for James Harden. So why this did come out so much later?

Whatever it was, it's a moot point at this juncture in the season. For people who agonized for a few days, or weeks over what a Harden-Stephen Curry-David Lee-Bogut lineup could do, here's Tim Kawakami with some choice words on the chances of the deal ever materializing.

The turned-down-Harden part of it is not correct because, at least for the Warriors, that was a practically impossible deal to put together and OKC almost certainly knew it when they called the Warriors.

Once again, what Simmons said is correct–it’s the INTERPRETATION of what he said that’s wrong and is getting carried further from actuality with each new pass-along…

The deal never could have, should have, or would have happened, under any circumstances.

However, allow me to throw one scenario out there. Kawakami talks a lot about the luxury tax and what the owners, Joe Lacob and company, were trying to do to build a financially smart team. And it's obvious they are cap-conscious, for a reason.

But it was just a few years ago, when the Golden State Warriors went for sale and multi-bajillionaire Larry Ellison was at the forefront of a bidding war. When Lacob and Guber were shown to be the highest bidder, Ellison claimed he had, in fact, bid more than that but Chris Cohan simply didn't sell him the franchise. Some details are found here and here, and it appears that Ellison did file a higher bid, just a tad too late. I guess he pulled an Elvis Dumervil.

But imagine for a second Ellison as the owner of the Warriors. A man of many, many assets could have gone the ways of Mikhail Prokhorov—spending blindly in hopes of building a contender. Dude bought an airline because his business was stationed there. What's a little James Harden max contract to him? Or a measly luxury tax? Of course, there are salary cap structures and the process of building a team that's significant. The team has a bright future right now and there's no way of knowing what Ellison might have done. But Ellison isn't just an owner buying a team just because he can. He's been tied to the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets, and Sacramento Kings.

Regardless of it all, this is just your typical could have, should have, and would have.

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