Now if you say trade Harden for CP3/DWill, PGs that can pass, score behind the 3, make free throws and just create their own shots, then that is a much better deal and those players can adapt better because they do not have to score but they can if needed and from practically anywhere in the court. But that is a whole new, different discussion.
This is kind of the point though. It might have been, as you say, smarter for Harden to have taken $55M and a good shot at a ring, over come what may. But what happens three months from now, when Donald Sterling decides he doesn't want to pay Chris Paul and the Clippers are looking to do a sign and trade for an affordable contract? Even if that scenario doesn't play out, if Harden signed the contract offered he would have been the Thunder's trade bait for the next 4 years. Accepting a low-ball offer from a team that is committed to you to win a championship is one thing, but that doesn't seem to have been the case here.
This is the CBA working as intended spreading talent more widely throughout the league.