Bradley Beal Was Almost Traded for James Harden in 2012
Bradley Beal has talked about his eight-year stint with the Washington Wizards. He has also said that he was almost traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for James Harden in the 2012 NBA Draft.
This would have fundamentally changed the NBA landscape if it happened because of the calibre of both players. The Thunder traded Harden to the Houston Rockets for a package involving Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb. Harden grew into one of the best shooting guards of all time but Martin and Lamb were lacklustre for OKC.
The Thunder were criticized for their decision to trade Harden and rightfully so. This was because he was an integral part of the team that made the 2012 NBA Finals. Most pundits and fans expected the team to retain all of their players but they were forced to trade Harden because they were not willing to pay the luxury tax.
Beal said, ‘The whole night, I kinda had a feeling I was going 2nd or 3rd. We knew Anthony Davis was going number one. So I already knew I was going to Charlotte or Washington. When we were sitting in the draft room, sure enough, my agent is tapping me like, “It’s possible you might go to OKC.” How am I gonna go there? I didn’t even work out for OKC. I only worked out for three teams which were Washington, Cleveland and Charlotte’.
That would have been a blockbuster trade because Beal would have been a perfect fit for the Thunder during that time. Martin and Lamb were good players but they were not a good fit with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant because they needed to have the ball in their hands to be productive.
Beal would have flourished in the Thunder system because he was already an elite spot-up shooter coming out of college. He is also a decent defender who has good length to keep up with other two-guards in the league.
It is interesting to speculate what would have happened to the NBA if the trade happened. We would not have been surprised to see the Thunder make the finals again if they managed to get Beal in the 2012 offseason.
Words: Cholo Martin