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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC and James Harden were a parting that had to be

This was a union too successful for its own good. Harden and the Thunder just had too much. Too much talent, too much fortune, too much fame. NBA economics and NBA culture could not sustain so many phenoms in one place at one time.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 20, 2013

The gang would have been broken up eventually. The Thunder swapped a year or two more of the Tops together for equity down the road.

And Harden has shown why he needed to flee the shadow of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Harden has soared in Houston. He's become an All-Star knocking on the door of superstar status.

When Harden goes off for 30 in one of these games, or posts a triple-double, which he is quite capable of doing, pacify yourself with these cool thoughts.

Serge Ibaka's improved scoring. Durant's improved passing. Westbrook's improved everything, to the point he might make first-team all-NBA. Harden's departure has allowed his old pals to spread their wings just a little wider, too.

“James is a really good player,” Scotty Brooks said. “He developed into a really good player with us.

“But it seems like it was so long ago when the trade happened. We have moved on.”

So now it's time for the rest of us to do the same. Don't feel melancholy, Loud City, when Harden takes the court in enemy colors.

Cheer like crazy when Ibaka swats away a Harden drive, just as you would if Jeremy Lin was the victim. Be enraged when Harden unleashes that Eurostep that draws a foul.

I know we're still transitioning Harden from friend to foe. But it's OK to think of Harden as only someone that we used to love.

Because it had to be. For the very best of reasons, Oklahoma City could not sustain both sides, Thunder and Harden. For their possessions were so great.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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