Former Thunder sixth man James Harden told Yahoo! Sports he was surprised to be given only one hour to decide whether to accept a four-year, $54-million offer to stay with OKC.
“After everything we established — everything we had done — you give me an hour?” Harden said Monday afternoon. “This was one of the biggest decisions of my life. I wanted to go home and pray about it. It hurt me. It hurt.”
Asked if additional time might have caused him to accept the deal, Harden responded: “Who knows? Another day, who knows what another day would've done?”
After four months of talks about a new deal for Harden, an impending restricted free agent, Oklahoma City traded him to the Houston Rockets along with center Cole Aldrich, forward Lazar Hayward and guard Daequan Cook in exchange for guard Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb, two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder. Harden wound up signing a five-year, $80-million deal with the Rockets just hours before the Oct. 31 deadline.
“I was there with talented guys in Oklahoma City, some All-Star guys, and I would've been in the back seat there — which I was fine with — but I wouldn't have gotten the chance to show how talented I really am,” Harden said. “It's a different opportunity for me here.
“I think they valued my talent there,” Harden said. “They built me there: my work ethic, my body. They changed my life. I think they know how good I can be.”
Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry, who entered the game leading the Raptors in scoring (23.7), rebounding (7.3), assists (7.0) and steals (3.7), went down with a right ankle sprain with 1:29 left in the first half and did not return.