Kendrick Perkins takes jab at Rockets’ James Harden for not sacrificing to stay with Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder were one finals away from winning the 2012 NBA Finals. Instead, they were bounced by LeBron James and the Miami Heat in their first run at a championship. Now, former Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins, is blaming Houston Rockets star shooting guard James Harden for giving up on the team. It was a team comprised of then-young stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Speaking to Cassidy Hubbarth and Amin Elhassan on ESPN NBA’s “Hoop Streams,” taking a retrospective on the 2011-12 Thunder team, Perkins, 35, poked at the ex-Thunder, now Rockets star Harden for not “sacrificing” enough.
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The Sixth Man of the Year winner in the same season, the off-the-bench rising star Harden back in 2012 became a free agent the summer after OKC lost in the Finals to the Heat. And the two sides could not come to an agreement on a contract extension, so the Rockets swooped in and traded for the perceived “third-best” player after Durant and Westbrook on the Thunder. Since then, Harden has grown into a multi-time All-Star, two-time league scoring champion, and MVP. He later reunited with Westbrook this past season when OKC shockingly traded away the face of the franchise along with now–Los Angeles Clippers star wing Paul George.
Perkins cites Durant and Westbrook taking pay cuts so the talented team could stay together. While Harden was seeking more money in the form of an extension. Perkins, an NBA champion with the 2007-08 Boston Celtics, spent four-plus seasons in OKC. He later briefly played alongside James and the Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring two years ago.
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