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Toronto rejected a trade for James Harden in 2012

James Harden, Raptors

Before the Houston Rockets won the James Harden sweepstakes in 2012, the Oklahoma City Thunder offered the star guard to the Toronto Raptors.

According to Chris Broussard and Bill Simmons via Bleacher Report, the Rockets inquired about trading Harden for Jonas Valanciunas and if a deal would have gotten done it would have probably included Jose Calderon and Terrence Ross. The article also points out that Harden would have been a good fit because he fits Dwane Casey’s over someone like DeMar DeRozan.

Unlike DeRozan, who excels more at a motion, off-ball screen type of game, Harden excels at the Dwane Casey offensive special, the pick and roll.

An underrated playmaker, wonderful ball handler and deadly shooter, Harden’s game, from an outside perspective looking in, probably fits the Raptors better than a guy like DeRozan’s game does. Harden’s ability to drain a shot from anywhere on the floor could’ve made the Raptors even harder to defend.

The Raptors General Manager at the time was Bryan Colangelo and he quickly dismissed the idea of a trade deciding to instead to hang onto Valanciunas.

In hindsight, the Raptors look very foolish for not pulling the trigger on this type of deal. They would have had a backcourt that included DeRozan, Harden and Kyle Lowry and maybe that is what they would have needed to get over the hump that is LeBron James and get a chance at an NBA title.