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View Full Version : Ask the League: If you could only keep one of them, which would you keep, and why?



haggis
04-10-2012, 10:47 AM
Harden or Ibaka: who ya got?...

...We sent out feelers to 24 of the other 29 teams in the league, also asking a couple of former coaches and executives their learned opinions. Of those who responded, seven picked Harden outright. Six picked Ibaka outright. And another six either couldn't decided or wanted more time to think about it.

The pro-Harden supporters cited his versatility and scoring ability.

"Keep Harden," wrote a Western Conference personnel man. "Hard to find (a) great scorer and facilitator. They think they can keep both???"

"Harden," said a Western Conference executive. "He's a top 3 or 4 small forward in (the) league. Does it all. Very good."

"I would keep Harden," wrote a Western Conference assistant GM. "He can play two positions and will be an all star."

"Harden," wrote a longtime team executive, "because he is a real top line player along with Durant and Westbrook. Ibaka is a solid big, so I would like to keep him too but if I had to choose I would (k)eep Harden and look elsewhere for a big."

"Tough one," wrote a current head coach. "Nine times out of 10 I would side with size. This case I would side with (H)arden. He's an all-star. He does for OKC what (Manu) Ginobili does for the Spurs."

Some folks wanted a Solomonic solution.

"Can't I have both!!," wrote a former NBA coach. "I'd pull a Pat Riley and do my best selling job a la Mike Miller and convince one or both to take a little less for the love of OKC and a Championship!!"

Wrote a Western Conference GM: "I can't make up my mind. Both so valuable. So good. So effective. My call is they will go into the (luxury) tax. If I was to pick today, I would pick Harden."

Another team VP also advocated keeping both, saying it was up to the Thunder's ownership to do whatever it took to keep the team together. "I wouldn't let the (organization) not keep both," he wrote.

Ibaka's supporters were just as sold on him.

"Ibaka," wrote a Western Conference GM. "Harder to replace."

"Ibaka," wrote a veteran assistant coach, "because I think losing him would hurt their defense & team more & Harden's position is easier to replace in my opinion."

One Western Conference GM wrote that he'd favor keeping Ibaka because he suspects Harden's agent, Rob Pelinka, will demand a max deal for Harden, "and he's easier to replace," the GM wrote.

"I would keep Ibaka," an Eastern Conference exec said. ".....so hard to find frontcourt players with presence in the paint ....love Harden, but I would rather have to replace a scorer off the bench, than search for a big like Ibaka."

Wrote another east GM: "Love Ibaka, he is the X-factor for that team...Premier shot blocker in the NBA. Perkins knows how to defend the post but Ibaka is the anchor of their defense."

A veteran scout preferred Ibaka as well, "because of his defense, shot-blocking and rebounding. His offense has gotten a lot better and will continue to improve. Harden is very good, but I think he's easier to replace than Serge."

And there was -- is -- another potential solution.

"I'd keep both," wrote an Eastern Conference general manager, "and get rid of Perkins."

http://www.nba.com/2012/news/features/david_aldridge/04/09/morning-tip-nba-draft-age-limit-debate/#nobody

So the tally is 7-6 for Harden, with 6 undecided.

Who would you keep if you could ONLY keep one, and why?

MonroeFAN
04-10-2012, 10:51 AM
tough call.

I'm leaning more towards Ibaka.

TylerSL
04-10-2012, 10:53 AM
I would say Ibaka because really good big men dont come around alot. In the NBA today, its rare. If Ibaka is off the Thunder, they are not best team in West. Durant and Westbrook could and would pick up the scoring load if Harden was gone. Still, its amazing that the Thunder have Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka all on the same team. Thats scary

thenaj17
04-10-2012, 11:06 AM
Both great players so why not keep them both and pay the luxury tax? The continued long runs in the playoffs and potential championships would give them extra money per game to pay for the extra salaries. If the players weren't so greedy (including Westbrook and Durant), then this wouldn't be an issue in the first place.

holocaust227
04-10-2012, 11:16 AM
Yeah, dump Perkins. Westbrook-Harden-Durant-Ibaka-Chandler would've been nasty.

I choose Harden because he'll likely win you more games than Ibaka.

rapjuicer06
04-10-2012, 11:21 AM
I'd say Ibaka because of his defensive presence. You have Westbrook and Durant to score, but you have no one to play the type of defense Ibaka does. In a couple years he'll be the new Dwight Howard in being the best defensive player. Harden is amazing at what he does, but scoring can be replaced. The efficiency (sp) won't be though...but Ibaka's pressence is just too much to replace

gwrighter
04-10-2012, 11:27 AM
I would keep Harden if I was the Thunder. He's on his way to becoming one of the best SG's in the league. Ibaka is a role player and those can be found when your a team as good as the Thunder are.

jp611
04-10-2012, 11:27 AM
Its tough but I say Harden, I don't think Hardens so easy to replace like they say he is... There are not many great SGs in the league, Harden is a great SG

Reddd
04-10-2012, 11:27 AM
Very tough choice but I'm leaning towards Harden, because I don't think that Ibaka is THAT good, that he should be kept over Harden. Besides in the future, if things don't work out anymore with Durant, Westbrook and Harden, they could trade him for a good big.
In my opinion, Harden is just too good to be given away at this time.

DreamShaker
04-10-2012, 11:58 AM
Harden. He is, as someone pointed out, like their Ginobli. He is the glue guy for the team. When you take away the glue, the team falls apart. I think it is a borderline silly question.

He115ing
04-10-2012, 11:59 AM
Durant and Westbrook can score in bunches but who else will score off the bench for OKC other than Harden? I say keep Harden.

LongWayFromHome
04-10-2012, 12:18 PM
Harden. The only reason you even have to think is because you already have 2 great perimeter players in Durant and Westbrook.

In a vacuum - its Harden by a long shot.

Baller1
04-10-2012, 12:31 PM
I don't want to lose one... :(

Iodine
04-10-2012, 12:33 PM
13eard.

5ass
04-10-2012, 12:48 PM
if they're looking to save money they should look to trade Perk's *** very soon. That way they'll be able to keep both.

Giraffes Rule
04-10-2012, 12:58 PM
Ibaka. Harden is a special player, but they already have 2 elite perimeter players. I think that interior defense is much more important, because you can always get a scorer for the bench.

5ass
04-10-2012, 01:03 PM
I actually think ibaka is a bit overrated, i can think of 3 players off the top of my head that can be a lot like him with some time. Biyombo, Tristan Thompson, Udoh.
I dont think it will be too hard to replace Ibaka. If i could only keep one it would be Harden.

TrueFan420
04-10-2012, 01:04 PM
lose perkins keep both

Raph12
04-10-2012, 01:05 PM
Harden, definitely Harden; it's not like the Thunder are an elite defensive team anyways... I think they should amnesty Perk and resign both,.

Iodine
04-10-2012, 01:05 PM
lol Tristan Thompson being a good defensive player at any point

Baller1
04-10-2012, 01:08 PM
Harden, definitely Harden; it's not like the Thunder are an elite defensive team anyways... I think they should amnesty Perk and resign both,.

Exactly. Amnesty Perk, and hopefully by then Aldrich will be ready for more minutes.

Bornknick73
04-10-2012, 01:09 PM
Keep Harden, keep Ibaka, trade Westbrook.

While he is a supreme talent he is in essence a undersized 2 guard. Westbrook is not a prototypical PG. His game is akin to Iverson's. From what people say his attitude is onyl a few notches below AIs as well.

The Durant-Westbrook divorce at some point will get messy. I sense a classic Kobe-Shaq feud soon to develop as Westbrook will feel its his team and Durant will feel its his team.

Keeping Harden AND Ibaka is healthy for the franchise. At some point Westbrook needs to go. His star is too bright to be a sidekick in his mind, and maybe hes right. I would trade him to Boston for Rondo.

Great all around, low maintainance SGs arent easy to find. Harden is a special talent as is Westbrook but Harden also doesnt presume to challenge the Durantula for dominance of his team. Rondo with his defense and passing would take OKC to another level. Rondo increases Durants scoring average 3-5 ppg. easily. Hes possibly the best defensive PG out there right now as well, which you will need against the likes of CP3, Nash, Parker and the slew of great PGs in the West.

Keep Harden, keep Serge, and trade Westbrook for Rondo. Rondo fits the team oriented style that the FO at OKC have been trying to establish. Westbrook wants to be a showboat and a leader of his own team.


Your team chemistry improves with a team first player, your defense in the backcourt improves greatly which will have a great affect on overall team defense. Its win win. You keep the heart of your defense in Serge and you add a stout pass first pg who doesnt need 20 shots to be happy.

Iodine
04-10-2012, 01:13 PM
Keep Harden, keep Ibaka, trade Westbrook.

While he is a supreme talent he is in essence a undersized 2 guard. Westbrook is not a prototypical PG. His game is akin to Iverson's. From what people say his attitude is onyl a few notches below AIs as well.

The Durant-Westbrook divorce at some point will get messy. I sense a classic Kobe-Shaq feud soon to develop as Westbrook will feel its his team and Durant will feel its his team.

Keeping Harden AND Ibaka is healthy for the franchise. At some point Westbrook needs to go. His star is too bright to be a sidekick in his mind, and maybe hes right. I would trade him to Boston for Rondo.

Great all around, low maintainance SGs arent easy to find. Harden is a special talent as is Westbrook but Harden also doesnt presume to challenge the Durantula for dominance of his team. Rondo with his defense and passing would take OKC to another level. Rondo increases Durants scoring average 3-5 ppg. easily. Hes possibly the best defensive PG out there right now as well, which you will need against the likes of CP3, Nash, Parker and the slew of great PGs in the West.

Keep Harden, keep Serge, and trade Westbrook for Rondo. Rondo fits the team oriented style that the FO at OKC have been trying to establish. Westbrook wants to be a showboat and a leader of his own team.
Except the fact that the "feud" has been made by the media, and both Westy and Durant laugh at it when its brought up.

Oh and Dirk isnt a typical 4, Dallas should have traded him years ago, same with every player that doesnt fit neatly into a box

Bornknick73
04-10-2012, 01:23 PM
Except the fact that the "feud" has been made by the media, and both Westy and Durant laugh at it when its brought up.

Oh and Dirk isnt a typical 4, Dallas should have traded him years ago, same with every player that doesnt fit neatly into a box

I thought only the NY or LA media did things like that? And Dirk almost revolutionized the stretch 4 as a viable option from your PF. He did bring something new to the position.

The scoring PG we have seen many times before. And outside of Magic and Thomas rarely leads to a championship. There are a slew of "Me first" PGs who never got close to winning the title. But im sure you know that.

Stinkyoutsider
04-10-2012, 02:09 PM
I'd have to choose Ibaka, but by the slimmest of margins. I think his combination of athleticism, shot blocking, and rebounding is what the Thunder need. If he was just a one way player, I would take Harden, but Ibaka's shooting has improved a lot. If he had a couple of post moves, I think more people would lean towards Ibaka too.

Harden can ball though! And, he is a great competitor. He plays angry and I want that kind of player coming off my bench. His skill set and talent would be very hard to replace but I think perimeter players might be a little easier to replace in today's NBA due to it being a guard driven league.

EYDI819
04-10-2012, 02:17 PM
IBAKA because Harden is a regular season kind of guy where offense rules in the regular season. Come playoffs, it is all about defense and if IBAKA is not there to defend the rim (not just blocking but altering the offensive player's shot because of his presence) then Thunder is screwed. Offense does not win Championships... Offense and Defense does and Thunder's defense is IBAKA.

Silent
04-10-2012, 02:34 PM
It's Ibaka defence wins ships

todu82
04-10-2012, 03:05 PM
James Harden

LakersMaster24
04-10-2012, 03:17 PM
In Thunders case I would keep Ibaka. They already have plenty of scorers on their team, and soon as Harden develops he will be asking for the ball more and that might lead him to becoming frustrated etc. Ibaka is their defensive anchor that keeps the paint on check. They really need his inside presence.

Cool007
04-10-2012, 05:23 PM
IMO, if they lose either 1, they will not be as good as they are this year.

Both players provide much needed help. Harden gives them another ball handler with PG skills and can score from anywhere. he is also a good change of pace player and gets to the line a lot (not to mention makes them at a high clip). The way Westbrook has regressed in passing, Harden helps in that department so they are doing okay.

While Ibaka and Perkins make a great pair controlling the paint. Teams would have to score from outside and it's hard to score from outside all night long and keep up with scoring of Durant/Westbrook and Harden. Ibaka not only blocks shots but he is a big time intimidator so he would block like 5 or more and also alter probably another 10 shots.

So imo, the way they are right now are a championship team but if they lose 1 of them key parts, I can see Westbrook's deficiencies in not passing much (without Harden) and their interior defense getting way worse and will make them look like Suns of past (a lot of offense but not much defense).

It will be interesting to see what happens.

FraziersKnicks
04-10-2012, 06:02 PM
Ibaka is an amazing shot blocker, but Harden is gonna be a top 3 SG in this league for years to come. I don't even have Ibaka in my top 10 PF's in the league at the moment I don't think...

InRoseWeTrust
04-10-2012, 06:53 PM
Conventional NBA wisdom says choose size...so I'm going with Ibaka, especially considering his defensive impact. Still love Harden though....hell of a player.

thekmp211
04-10-2012, 06:54 PM
ibaka, you need a dyamic big man to contend and guys like ibaka dont exactly grow on trees. as much as i love harden he is a luxury behind westbrook whose loss can be compensated for.

justinnum1
04-10-2012, 06:54 PM
ibaka

smith&wesson
04-10-2012, 07:07 PM
if they're looking to save money they should look to trade Perk's *** very soon. That way they'll be able to keep both.

this... get rid of perkins and free up space to bring back ibaka and harden. that would be the best move.

maybe trade perkins for a pick and draft C that will be on a rookie contract for the next some odd years.

Kevj77
04-10-2012, 09:19 PM
Thunder at least have both under affordable rookie contracts for one more year then they will be RFAs I think they can and should keep both even if it costs luxury tax. The problem isn't Perkins contract they will be able to move him if they have to. It is that right now they have very good players on rookie contracts, Westbrook for 5 mil, Harden for 4.6 mil and Ibaka for 1.2 mil. All those players are going to get paid and if they keep them all could cost luxury tax under the new CBA, ouch.

They drafted so well I hate to see it happen. I think they will pay to keep the team together and be the top dog in the west for years.

It'sMyTime
04-10-2012, 09:29 PM
I feel Harden is worth so much to their team, without him their bench scoring is sub par. If Durant or Westbrook are having an off night Harden can carry the scoring load for the team.

koetravis
04-10-2012, 09:32 PM
Or you keep both Harden and Ibaka, but trade Westbrook/Perkins for a top 10 PG and top 15 C.

NoahH
04-11-2012, 12:24 AM
Harden. He has superstar potential

Sinestro
04-11-2012, 12:34 AM
I'd keep Ibaka first

blastmasta26
04-11-2012, 07:28 AM
Just amnesty Perkins and sign both. I'm not sure of what their cap situation is, but if they can do that, it's definitely the right move.

thekmp211
04-11-2012, 07:49 AM
lets get this out of the way -- amnestying perkins or not, OKC is not keeping ibaka and harden without some sort of home town discount. i don't think anyone in the league is all about those, especially for guys after their first big check. again, a ring or two will make that much more plausible but if these guys are all getting paid market value, OKC simply cannot keep them all, period.

blastmasta26
04-11-2012, 07:56 AM
lets get this out of the way -- amnestying perkins or not, OKC is not keeping ibaka and harden without some sort of home town discount. i don't think anyone in the league is all about those, especially for guys after their first big check. again, a ring or two will make that much more plausible but if these guys are all getting paid market value, OKC simply cannot keep them all, period.

How much of a discount would you need from them though?

thekmp211
04-11-2012, 10:30 AM
How much of a discount would you need from them though?

well i had a nice post opened up where i was working it all out to put on here...and then i accidentally closed the tab.

from what i got, and i admittedly might be calculating some things incorrectly, these guys would have to go about 2.5/year under their max contracts to be able to sign, and that would leave the thunder with about 15 cents of cap space to work with.

i think it works out to about 12 million less per guy, although its also worth considering okc has an extra guaranteed year to offer them which would essentially negate that figure. in truth, though, in they'd have to take even less in order to leave okc with a sane amount of cap space. if someone else wants to work it out i'm sure this is off a bit, but i dont have time to do it again lol.

LAKobeBryant
04-11-2012, 01:03 PM
harden you already got 2 scorers and ibaka is the defence of OKC, league leader in block shots

BlondeBomber41
04-11-2012, 01:19 PM
I dont see why they can't keep both. Yes it will mean luxury tax, but they are a fantastic young team with a sellout crowd every night and a terrific fan base. They have the money, spend it...

ManningToTyree
04-11-2012, 01:28 PM
Really tough call. Ibaka bring more of what they need (defense rebounding) with westy and KD carrying the scoring load. However, Harden is a future superstar and could be be their final piece to a younger, better big three.

I'll go Harden.