Last Oct. 27, between 9-10 p.m., news broke that the Thunder had traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets.
Some Oklahomans were having dinner, some were watching OU and Notre Dame play a football game of some note and some were all snuggled in at home.
We talked to a variety of people about where they were and what they felt when they heard the news about the trade that changed two franchises.
Nick Collison, Thunder forward:
“I was at dinner and found out from somebody who saw it on Twitter. I think I got a text from the team and then it was on ESPN all within like five minutes. It was a little bit of a shock. I think we knew it was a possibility, with contract situations and things like that. But it's part of the business. It's happened before.
“I went over there after the trade just to talk to him, see how he was doing. He's a good friend of mine and he had been a teammate for a long time. The same with Cole (Aldrich) and Daequan (Cook) and Lazar (Hayward). It was more of just a personal friendship thing knowing he was going to be somewhere else. So I just went to see how he was doing and wish him luck and that's about what it was.
“He was doing well. I think everyone is kind of shocked when things happen like that. But he was ready to go and ready to move on, I guess.”
Skip Bayless, ESPN's First Take host and Northwest Classen High School graduate:
“I remember it all too well. Sitting in my living room in New York City, double nightmare for me, because I had a couple of dinner bets on my Oklahoma Sooners, and I was extremely confident they could handle Notre Dame. And I had a public pride bet with (Notre Dame basketball player) Skylar Diggins, who had been on our show, and I had trash-talked her, backed her into a corner. I had to eat that crow on Twitter after the game.
“I was dumbfounded when I looked down and saw on my computer, as my Sooners were going down 30-13. Saw the headline (Harden traded), and I was dumbfounded.
“I could not believe that dynasty-in-the-making was no more. I was just so convinced that the Thunder was poised to win multiple championships, poised to do their ‘Not three, not four, not five.'
“It was hard to get it through my head that it appeared that they had decided he was not worth the luxury tax dollars they would have to pay. I just could not believe it. I loved James Harden.
“That was a double nightmare. Seemed like they had broken up the big four. I don't know. Sam Presti's a smart guy. Maybe in the long run, they will prove they knew what they were doing. I still haven't quite recovered from the Sooners in that game. I just really felt confident about that game.”
Jim Paris, owner of Paris Limousine Service in Oklahoma City, who frequently drove Harden:
“I had knowledge of it ahead of time. But I didn't know it was going to happen. I think it happened at 9:15 (p.m.). And it happened so fast. I got called at 3 o'clock in the morning to take James and the others to the airport.
“I was shocked that they couldn't work out a deal. I'll be honest with you, even the parents were shocked, that it went down that fast and that quick.
“I was really shocked. I didn't think it would happen that way. I thought it would come down to the end of the season.”
Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder defensive whiz:
“I was home. I wasn't expecting it at all. And I got a phone call saying James was traded. It was just a surprise for me to hear that. I wasn't expecting it to at least be that early in the season. It's tough to see guys that you bond with and were your teammate for a long time go away. But we had to move on.”
Sam Hinkie, Rockets assistant general manager and Marlow High School graduate:
“We were excited to say the least. It was the kind of thing we felt like we had been preparing a long time for, but also the kind of thing that's unexpected until it happens. To get a player like him is a longshot. But we had been trying to get a player like him for quite some time. When that came to fruition, we were really excited.
“He's the rare player that you get a chance to bring onto your team. Daryl (Morey, Rockets' general manager) said at the press conference, a foundational player, so good and so young.
“A lot of my job is to temper expectations at a time like that, as we go about building something not only lasting, but something we're excited about. We were confident in things.”
Scott Brooks, Thunder coach:
“I was definitely at the football game versus, what was it, Notre Dame? I had a feeling that it potentially could happen. But when it happened I wished James well and I welcomed our new players. It was simple as that. That's part of the business. You've been around it long enough and I had been in that position, traded and released, so I understand that that's part of it. The quicker you move on without being cold to the situation, you have to move on.”
Mike Brooks, OU football historian and Thunder fan:
“I don't know if it was the worst thing that happened in that fourth quarter or the second-worst. We fought back and tied it, then it was downhill from there. Somewhere in that downhill slide, we heard Harden was traded.
“I was in total disbelief. He's my favorite player. It was a gloomy night at Owens Field. That's where I was. Kind of like piling on.
“I was in disbelief about Harden, the player that he was. Turns out, he was every bit the player we thought he was. At the same time, the Sooners were going down with a dud. They (Notre Dame) scored three tines after Harden was traded. That kind of sums it up. Tough to be a Harden and Sooner fan that night.”
Chandler Parsons, Rockets forward:
“I was in Orlando, with my friends who are big basketball fans, and I thought it was huge. I'm very close with the front office staff and the management, so I was talking to Daryl (Morey) and Gersson (Rosas) about what kind of moves we were thinking about making. So I kind of was in the loop a little bit and had an idea.
“But I remember I was at home in Orlando and I was just very excited to be able to match up with a player of James' caliber.”
Greg Johnson, a Norman resident and OU season ticket holder:
“There were a few peeps around halftime, but everyone in the area around me brushed it off as rumor. Why would we trade Harden? Then, we all started to get texts from friends and family outside of the stadium who were watching the game on TV telling us about the trade.
“It didn't become official to me until it popped up on my ScoreCenter app right near the end of the game. Notre Dame was putting the finishing touches on Oklahoma, and the coup de grace was the Harden trade information.
“My phone was still skittish during the walk home and I didn't see the information about Martin, Lamb and the other picks until much later. I felt much, much better after seeing the ransom we got for Harden, but that walk home was tough.
“I was in a pretty sour mood because of the Sooners' game, and trading Harden was just piling on.
“On the walk home the trade was the only thing people were talking about. No one wanted to think about losing to Notre Dame, so we did what good Oklahoma fans do and talked about something else."
Patrick Shannon, 22-year-old Thunder fan living in Tulsa:
“I was watching my Cornhuskers beat Michigan in a very important game when I found out. Nebraska had the game in hand when all of a sudden, the bottom line on ESPN read, 'Breaking news: OKC Thunder has agreed to trade James Harden to the Houston Rockets.' Totally ruined my night. Suddenly, I didn't even care about Nebraska winning.
“I was sad and shocked that The Beard was gone.”
Fran Blinebury, nba.com writer and Greater Houston resident:
“My wife and I were at a Cajun restaurant with friends, eating crawfish and watching the Oklahoma-Notre Dame game on the big screen. Not close enough to read the news crawler at the bottom of the screen.
“As we left, I checked email and was, well, thunderstruck. I had written a column a few days earlier saying that at that point, so close to the season, there was no urgency made for Sam Presti to deal Harden at least til the trade deadline.
“First thought: never saw that coming. Second thought: he threw (Rockets general manager) Daryl Morey and the Rockets a lifeline to get out of perpetual mediocrity.”