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.
He finished with two points, one rebound and four assists in 17 minutes and was replaced by underrated Jose Calderon, who has a career-high of 19 assists.
Hasheem Thabeet didn't miss a shot all night and received a standing ovation from what remained of the sellout crowd (18,203) when he left the game with 3:09 left.
Only 25 percent of the crowd was still in the building when Thabeet fouled out after shooting 6 for 6 from the free-throw line and 2 for 2 from the field, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds in 22:36.
Russell Westbrook wore a black sleeve on his bruised left shoulder. … In the second quarter, Kevin Martin shot the free throw on a technical foul with Kevin Durant also on the court. Entering the game, Durant was just 19 for 25 (.760) from the line and Martin was 16 for 16. Martin is now 22 for 23 (.957) on the season and Durant is 25 for 31 (.806). … Thabo Sefolosha made his first three 3-point attempts. His two misses were buzzer-beaters with the shot-clock and the end of the second period. … After going 6 for 8 from 3-point range against Atlanta on Sunday, Martin went 1 for 4 against the Raptors. … No one on the Thunder roster took more than 12 shots, and nine players played between 18 and 29 minutes.
Coach Scott Brooks insists he wasn't concerned with the Thunder's 1-2 start: “I told the guys, ‘If we were a college team, the University of Thunder, and we went to the Maui Classic, I would be very concerned (at 1-2). But it's not. There are a lot of basketball games to be played.' ”