NBA Rumors: 7 Teams Who Should Try and Pry James Harden Away from Thunder

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IIJune 29, 2012

NBA Rumors: 7 Teams Who Should Try and Pry James Harden Away from Thunder

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder currently still has reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden on its roster. But the team may not be able to afford him, and there are plenty of other teams that could use such a dynamic playmaker on their roster.

    According to ESPN, Harden loves playing for the Thunder and expects his agent and Thunder GM Sam Presti to work out a deal in plenty of time for him to remain in Oklahoma City. However, just because Harden thinks it will happen, doesn’t mean it will. Stranger things have happened.

    There are plenty of teams that would covet Harden and believe him to be the missing piece from their squad’s puzzle. Here are seven NBA teams that should try to get Harden off the Thunder payroll.

Chicago Bulls

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    The biggest need for the Chicago Bulls has been at the shooting guard position alongside Derrick Rose in the backcourt. That’s a role James Harden could fulfill very easily.

    Prying Harden away from the Thunder would give Chicago a talented playmaker who could fill in until Rose gets back from injury and help take the offensive pressure off of him even after he gets back.

    Too much of the offensive burden has been placed on Rose, and Harden could handle the ball some, allowing Rose to play off the ball or rest on the bench. He can also hit threes and would stretch the floor for Rose to drive.

    For the Bulls, Harden makes too much sense.

Washington Wizards

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    It’s no secret that the Washington Wizards, much like the Chicago Bulls, need a player to pair with their star point guard in their backcourt. Once again, James Harden could be that guy.

    The Wizards have been very active already this offseason, pulling off a trade that got rid of Rashard Lewis and added valuable pieces in Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. With a core of John Wall, Ariza, Nene and Okafor, the Wizards only need a shooting guard to round out a pretty nice starting five.

    Harden could fill that role, as a player that can shoot from long range and handle the rock. His ability to play on or off the ball would allow him to be successful with this team.

Boston Celtics

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    The Boston Celtics are going to have a ton of cap space heading into next season, especially if they are unable to say Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett. That cap space could be taken up by James Harden very nicely.

    Harden would give the Celtics a scoring option that wouldn’t require to always be set up by Rajon Rondo. While Harden does play well off the ball, he can also create his own shot and that’s something the Celtics need right now.

    The 22-year-old shooting guard is also a decent defender, so he wouldn’t be a liability for the Celtics’ team defense first mentality. He’s done a great job against Kobe Bryant in the playoffs, one of the toughest covers in the NBA.

Dallas Mavericks

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    The Dallas Mavericks are going after free agent Deron Williams to be their point guard. They cleared a ton of cap space, but if Williams decides to remain with the Brooklyn Nets, the Mavericks could be in a world of hurt.

    That’s where James Harden comes in. Harden could be the young player to come in and complement Dirk Nowitzki. He’s a great shot creator and would make the team immediately better.

    However, Dallas has basically nothing to offer the Thunder in return for him. For this to happen, Dallas would have to get a third team involved that needs to shed salary or has draft picks to offer up for OKC.

    If they can’t, this is definitely just a pipe dream. But that doesn’t mean Dallas shouldn’t try.

Houston Rockets

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    The Houston Rockets have been the most active team in the NBA over the past week, and they may not be done making moves. James Harden could be a star for Houston to finally build around.

    The Rockets haven’t had a wing player who can create offense on his own in too long. Harden would give them a player who has proven that he can do that. He’d make them better just by stepping on the floor.

    Harden could also be a very valuable trade piece in the Rockets seemingly never-ending quest to land Dwight Howard. The Magic tried to get Harden along with Serge Ibaka for Howard earlier in the season, and he could be the missing piece that Houston’s trade package needs.

Toronto Raptors

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    The Toronto Raptors improved dramatically last season on the defensive end of the floor. In fact, they were in the Top 10 of NBA teams in terms of points allowed per game. However, their offense often broke down and was in effective.

    With power forward Jonas Valanciunas finally joining the team after being drafted in the lottery last season, the Raptors could use a proven player on the perimeter. James Harden would give them a player that can create offense, both in the half court and in fast-break situations.

    It would cost the Raptors a lot to get Harden, but it certainly isn’t impossible.

Phoenix Suns

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    The Phoenix Suns are in serious danger of losing Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash to free agency. A recent report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports stated that Phoenix was trying to bring in Ray Allen. However, James Harden is obviously a better option.

    Harden would do what Allen would do for the Suns and more. He’s a guy who can shoot from long range and create offense of his own. The Suns also have plenty of cap space to pay Harden over the next several years.

    Nash wouldn’t be under as much pressure playing with Harden, and even if Nash were to leave, Harden would give the team a young star to build around.