For all the good Sam Presti has done for the Oklahoma City Thunder, he's made some strange trades as their general manager, and he apparently doesn't want to be reminded about the worst of them.
According to The Oklahoman's Anthony Slater, the Thunder would not allow newly acquired eccentric reserve guard Dion Waiters to wear No. 13 because it previously belonged to their former eccentric reserve guard turned All-NBA performer James Harden. We'll let Waiters explain via Slater.
Why you wearing 23?
They didn’t have any numbers. I wanted 3, I wanted 1. They didn’t have that. So I said, OK, I’m gonna take 13 because I wanted 1, they didn’t have 1. Then 13, they didn’t want me to wear 13. 23, I didn’t want to wear 23. My favorite number is 3. They just gave me 23.
You remember who wore 13?
Yeah, James (Harden). So they didn’t want me to wear 13. Guess they wanted me to have my own identity. We gonna make 23 look good though.
Harden was fantastic in his three seasons on the Thunder, averaging 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 31.4 minutes per night off the bench during their run to the NBA finals, but it's not like they're retiring his number. So, perhaps OKC doesn't want to be reminded that Presti traded a current MVP candidate for Jeremy Lamb, (eventually) Steven Adams, the since departed Kevin Martin and future picks.
Or, as as the Daily Thunder astutely pointed out, the Thunder don't want Waiters trying to live up to the previous No. 13, which is weird, because that's exactly what they'd like him to do. As Kevin Durant told Yahoo's own Marc Spears, "I am not saying he's James' replacement because we're far past that. But he can play, he can come off the bench for us and score and make plays. He is a really good player."
Are they "far past that"? Because it seems like they aren't. Or maybe they've developed Triskaidekaphobia in the past couple years. (And, yes, that's the actual term coined for an irrational fear of No. 13). If the Thunder told Waiters he can't grow a ridiculous beard, though, now that I would support.
- - - - - - -