Hey all, this is my first post here as I just joined (but I've been lurking for a couple years). Here and here it is stated that the Thunder might want to trade Harden. It got me thinking: what could the Suns offer to get him? The only realistic solution in my opinion would be Jared Dudley. The trade works... The Suns would have to include some picks (I'd say their top 5 protected 2013 pick + one of the Lakers picks) for the Thunder to consider the offer.
What do both parties gain?
The Thunder get a proven 2/3 who could excel as a 6th man on a good long term contract (thus they avoid the tax) plus picks which can provide them fresh blood (given their recent draft success picks are an asset to them). Considering the "expert" projections the Suns' pick is guaranteed to be in the lottery. Downside: I rate Harden higher than Dudley so their title hopes for the season diminish with this trade - the trade is about the long run.
The Suns get the best young SG in the league (no guarantee they could get him in free agency as it's not even certain Harden would go that way). Downside: losing the fan favorite and a valuable pick (I don't see the Lakers no. 1 pick as very valuable).
I expect that the idea of trading JD might not go down well (I think I recently saw a sig "don't trade Dudley") but you have to give to get (same goes for the picks). It is understood (see the above links) that the Thunder are expected to receive quite a package if they choose to trade Harden so to even enter the conversation the Suns would need to stack the offer.
The Suns after the trade:
PG: Dragic, Telfair, Marshall; SG: Harden, Brown; SF: Beasley, Johnson, Tucker; PF: Scola, Morris, Frye; C: Gortat, O'Neal, Frye.