The NBA regular season is under wraps, and James Harden is likely only months away from receiving his much-eluded Most Valuable Player award, but in retrospect — it would have been completely out of the realm of possibility had he stayed put in OKC.

Prior to the step back, the saucy escape dribble and the endless dagger threes he's sank as the leader of the Houston Rockets, The Beard was just coming into his own as a sixth man with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with only seven starts to his name through three seasons and a scoring mentality waiting to be unleashed.

In the summer of 2012, Rockets GM Daryl Morey made a move to acquire him, unveiling the player fans now know as one of the most exciting in the league — yet that hasn't stopped Harden from thinking about that very move to this day.

“It was the perfect puzzle,” Harden told Devin Gordon of GQ Magazine. “How do you give that up? How do you let that go?”

It was indeed the perfect puzzle, three young players [Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Harden] — all with the ability to score, pass, and play off each other. Yet the poison pill came to bite them, as Harden was pried away, becoming an instant sensation in Clutch City.

Thinking back at it, Durant earned his first MVP in 2014 alongside Westbrook, but the latter had to wait until he was on his own to garner the coveted award, and so had Harden, now with his third real chance to earn it in the last four years.

To think all three players would have been MVPs playing together is fairly unlikely, yet it sure would've been interesting to watch them try.