Did the Thunder trade James Harden, in part, because he partied too much during the 2012 NBA Finals?
That theory has gained steam as details of Harden’s habits with the Rockets have come to light. It gains even more credibility as Kendrick Perkins – who played with Harden on that Oklahoma City team – describes the situation.
The Thunder – featuring Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka – beat the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals then the Heat in Oklahoma City in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. But the Thunder lost the next four games, including the final three games of the series in Miami.
Perkins on “All The Smoke“:
Russ and KD came to play. I had a couple double-doubles. Serge was doing pretty good. But, man, James ain’t give us s***. And you know why. Motherf***ing King of Diamonds and everything cut a hole in his hands.
In San Antonio, he didn’t have a damn thing to do. S***, we got to motherf***ing Miami, s***, it was every-motherf***ing-thing to do. We couldn’t get that motherf***ker to buy a bucket in that motherf***er.
In Miami, he couldn’t get his rest. Motherf***er was out every motherf***ing night.
Accurate or not, this is atypically harsh and revealing assessment by a former teammate. Usually, former teammates are more protective of each other. Perkins clearly doesn’t follow that.
Harden struggled in the Finals. Was that because he spent too much time in a Miami strip club? Maybe. But Harden enjoyed the nightlife while still producing at a high level on the court throughout his career. Sometimes, players just have bad games.
For what it’s worth, Perkins wasn’t as good in the Finals as he insinuated. He had two double-doubles in the sense that he had a double-double in Game 3 and a double-double in the other four games combined (barely). The Heat exploiting Perkins’ limitations is a key reason they won.
Harden’s struggles didn’t help Oklahoma City, either, though. As Udonis Haslem – the lone Miami player from 2012 still on the team – apparently remembers.