Yahoo The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets after they were unable to agree to a contract extension with the star guard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Rockets sent Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and future draft considerations to the Thunder for Harden, sources told Y! Sports. Along with Harden, the Thunder will send Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward and Daequan Cook to the Rockets. Houston also sent two 2013 first round picks (from Dallas and Toronto) to Oklahoma City, sources told Y! Sports, as well as a 2013 second-round pick (via Charlotte). The Thunder will receive the Toronto pick this year if it’s slotted Nos. 4-14. That pick also is top-three protected in 2014, top-two protected in 2015 and top-one protected in 2016.
I am not that shocked by this trade because I had heard that contract negotiations had broken down between Harden and the Thunder, but it is a very interesting move for both teams.
The Houston Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey finally got to use some of the assets they have been acquiring for years to land a talented young player with star potential. They now have the makings of an interesting young nucleus and they still have assets left to make moves in the future. A young back court of Jeremy Lin and James Harden will definitely draw media attention and be fun to watch this coming season.
For the Oklahoma City Thunder this move was about commitment to their young core of superstars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. The Thunder knew that those three players were their building blocks going forward and did not want to enter the season with everyone distracted due to Harden’s contract situation. They maximized his value by getting a veteran shooting guard on an expiring contract in Kevin Martin, who can start right away, and his future replacement promising rookie Jeremy Lamb. Plus the addition of two first round picks gives the Thunder the opportunity to add more depth to their core in the future.
This is a very interesting trade from both teams perspectives, keep an eye on how James Harden fares without superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and how the Thunder fare without their sixth man of the year.