3. Would the Thunder have been better off ponying up for James Harden and letting Ibaka walk?
Mayberry: In the short term, yes. In the long run, no. Harden is a much more polished player than Ibaka and could have given the Thunder a couple of years of the best trio in basketball. It would have been a three-headed monster most teams would not have been able to defend. But three max contracts on the same team has quickly become a fading format thanks to the league's more punitive rules. So the window would have been open for roughly two years and then the Thunder, in all likelihood, would have lost both Harden and Ibaka — possibly for nothing in return.
Rohde: No. You already have two of the league's premier scorers. Shooting guards are plentiful, but 23-year-old shot blockers, with a velvet jump shot who can run like a gazelle are not easy to find.
Tramel: No. The Thunder tried to sign both and even offered Harden more than what Ibaka signed for. But Harden said no. But now Ibaka is signed for $12.25 million a year, which is a lot of money to pay for your No. 3 player but still acceptable for an all-star caliber talent.