James Harden Once Let Out His Anguish on Being Traded From Oklahoma: “I Was Almost in Tears. Me and Russell Westbrook Knew Each Other From When We Played as Kids. Me and Kevin Durant Hung Out Every Day”

Published 12/24/2021, 7:30 AM EST
Feb 13, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) talks with forward Kevin Durant (7) during a free throw attempt by the Nets against the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


In 2009, James Harden started his NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder as their third overall pick. However, his time with the team was cut short, and the guard was sent to play for the Houston Rockets in 2012. Many fans like to revisit the idea of a super team in Oklahoma, complete with Harden, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook.

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While Westbrook is with the Los Angeles Lakers now, Durant and Harden have reunited with the Brooklyn Nets. Even though it might not be the same as it was with OKC, it is indeed another opportunity for Harden to pursue an NBA title.

With this fact in mind, let’s take a look at how Harden actually felt during his trade.

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James Harden on his OKC trade in 2012

A few years ago, Harden was playing for the Houston Rockets. Even though the team never won a title with Harden, no one would argue about his growth as a player. As the Nets deal with challenges during the 2021-22 season, Harden has established his place in the NBA as one of the best players to ever grace the game.

That does not mean Harden was pleased about his departure from OKC. The franchise was looking at a possible super team, which could have even won multiple titles.

Dec 8, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts after scoring during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In a 2017 interview with Time, Harden spoke about his position in the NBA, along with about how he felt after he found out. The whole situation did not just impact Harden, but the entire team.

“I was almost in tears. Me and Russell knew each other from when we played at the Boys and Girls Club together as kids. Me and Kevin (Durant) hung out like every day. We were young, we hung out, we were really, really good friends,” Harden said.

He added that they were getting better every year, and probably had a legitimate chance.

In his final year with the Thunder, they made it to the Finals – losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat. “After that, I’m like, ‘this is our year.’ Every year we lost to the team that won the championship”. 

Does Harden regret the trade?

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Harden added that when he looks back at the whole thing, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to him. He said, “It allowed me to grow. I sacrificed coming off the bench with that team. I don’t think I would have been able to reach my full potential if I was still coming off the bench”.

Nov 10, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) and forward Kevin Durant (7) talk against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the Rockets, and now with the Nets, Harden is certainly a frontrunner. Though he was recently a part of the league’s health and safety, Harden was cleared and will be traveling for the Christmas game.

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The Nets, currently leading the Eastern Conference, will be facing the Lakers on Christmas.

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Devika

556 articles

Devika Pawar is a Golf and NBA writer at Essentially Sports. A psychology graduate from KJ Somaiya, Devika has an experience with sportswriting at Republic World for around two years now. She loves NBA a little too much, and is a dedicated Golden State Warriors fan.

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