First let me say I am born and raised in Portland and therefore born and raised a Blazers Fan. One of my earliest memories is going with my parents to games where I would watch Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter and Cliff Robinson play. I remember being in a state of shock and disbelief when Drexler was traded to the Houston Rockets when I was only 7, I just couldn't comprehend him not playing for us, not to mention playing for another team. I have sense been along for the rollercoaster of ups and downs that comes with this organization from the weed busts, to half a quarter and a 15 point lead away from the Finals to the joy of winning that first pick, to the nude photo, to the decay of Oden and Roy's knees. It has been quite a ride to say the least.
Now I don't know why I would think you care for all of that information, but hopefully it provided necessary context. Let me just get this out of the way: I will always be a bit aggravated and envious of your organization's success. First there was the sketchy move from Seattle. This is not at all any of your faults as fans, but something I always hold against your organization. Portland is always thought of a bit as Seattle's little brother. If any of you have watched the show "Portlandia" you will see the mayor asking for a song for the city with one condition "Just don't make it like Seattle." Portland always plays second fiddle to Seattle in the Pacific Northwest and it has led to some great sport rivalries between us and Seattle. I have plenty of college friends from Seattle who were passionate Sonic fans and I saw the sadness first hand it brought them to have their team stolen and it always makes me sad a little. Then of course there is the 2007 Draft. We were supposed to be a season ahead of you guys, we had Roy and Aldridge already, Oden would complete the triangle. Also another scoring wing player would just be redundant, a dominant big man was more rare and completed this team more. This same reasoning was the thought process in 1984 when a year earlier we drafted Clyde Drexler. The rest in both drafts is well documented and is something our organization is defined by. Your organization has sense been the model of the league on making smart move after smart move and last season you saw the fruits of the labor in your team's run at the finals. Sam Presti is genious, I'm envious, Kevin Durant is Kevin Durant (and has working knees), I'm envious, your biggest problem right now is an embarrassment of riches, did I mention I'm envious? Now again this is not your fault as fans and being apart of some really passionate fan bases myself in The Blazers, The Oregon Ducks and the Portland Timbers, I admire your fans bases passion.
Ok, if you are still with me, I didn't just want to talk about myself, I wanted to ask you the question you guys are probably all tired of hearing. What the hell to do with James Harden. I think it would be in your best interests to keep him and I'm sure most of your fan base agrees. But lets say that isn't the case and a trade before the season starts, mid season trade, or sign and trade next summer happens. On our site "Blazers Edge" we have been discussing your coveted player here and here. Obviously our fanbase would love to have a player of Harden's caliber on this team. We need another scorer who can create his own shot along side Aldridge. There is a lot of disagreement if even the Thunder do happen to be looking at trades, if we would have the best offer out there. With these offers I am just going to state the main personal suggested, obviously other filler in picks and other players could be added. The most likely options I have seen raised are:
Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors for Harden and Aldrich
Paul George for Harden
Rodney Stuckey and a 1st rounder for Harden
Aaron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and a 1st rounder for Harden
Jered Dudley, Markieef Morris and a 1st rounder (maybe 2) for Harden
Klay Thompson and Estus Ezeli for Harden
Now obviously all except the Minnesota one (which was suggest by Bill Simmons) We only looked at straight up for Harden and maybe Aldrich. More can be looked at if Perkins or others are included more. Also there isn't looking at multi-team trades which very well could be what type of trade to happen. That would just make my head hurt so I stayed away from them.
My question to you guys is hypothetically assuming Thunder is going the trade rout with Harden to not pay the luxury tax, as a Thunder fan, which one of these options do you think is most likely and/or which would you like to see most? If you have another idea, or heard another scenario please share in the comments.