Unable to work out an extension with James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded the Sixth Man of the Year to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, breaking up the young core of the Western Conference champions.
The Thunder acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick in the surprising deal that was completed Saturday night. Oklahoma City also sent center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston.
Wednesday's deadline to extend Harden or allow him to become a restricted free agent next July had been hanging over the Thunder from the moment they reported to training camp, but sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein late Saturday the Rockets intend to sign the swingman to the max contract extension he was seeking before Wednesday's midnight deadline.
The Thunder offered Harden $55.5 million over four years -- $4.5 million less than the max deal Harden coveted and will get from the Rockets, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.
It's hard to believe that Harden thought he was worth max money after he completely laid an egg in last year's Finals. I feel like it's premature to do so, but I can't help but compare him to Joe Johnson in terms of amount of hype and lack of delivery.
The Thunder got Kevin Martin in return; I wouldn't call that a bad trade, necessarily. Although he's obviously much older than Harden (and I can't believe I'm calling someone a year younger than I am, "an old guy").
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Originally posted by It's FalseIt's hard to believe that Harden thought he was worth max money after he completely laid an egg in last year's Finals. I feel like it's premature to do so, but I can't help but compare him to Joe Johnson in terms of amount of hype and lack of delivery.
Ehhh, not so fast.
I get where you're coming from, but Harden is already a better offensive player than Joe Johnson was at this point in his career, and I'd argue he has more upside too as he has shown the ability to be an elite player both as a shooter and as a slasher. I'd also argue that his defense is better than JJ's, but that's not really saying much.
The problem with Harden is I don't think he will play as well being 'The Guy'. The Rockets are going to need an alpha dog on this team somewhere down the road, but this is shaping up to be a great Jeremy Lin team. If he is anything close to what he showed last year this could be a real fun team to watch.
That all being said OKC will feel the loss of Harden, because he was in the perfect role for them. Kevin Martin won't fill the intangible void that he left. Jeremy Lamb is an interesting prospect though.
OKC got a lot back for Harden, so it is not like they lost the trade but I still think Harden was more valuable to them than anyone else.
Of course Morey's thing has been you either want to be atop the league or at the bottom, because there is no movement when you are stuck in the middle ... and now look at them.
Originally posted by BigDaddyLoco Of course Morey's thing has been you either want to be atop the league or at the bottom, because there is no movement when you are stuck in the middle ... and now look at them.
(edited by BigDaddyLoco on 28.10.12 1118)
The problem Morey had was that he was about to go into the season with Jeremy Lin under contract for 3 years, $25M and he looked absolutely atrocious in the preseason. If he finished the season with Lin (his only acquisition) wetting the bed, he'd get fired. So I think his hand was forced.
I just looked at the Houston roster. I don't know where the Rockets are going to be cap wise after Harden signs, but giving that kind of money to Lin, Asik and Harden as your core players is pretty unexciting. Maybe their young guys are good? They sure could use a guy like Luis Scola down low.
EASTER: I see. Did you notice if Mr. Bryant was drinking the night of your party? O'NEAL: Oh, yeah -- definitely. I had made some Jell-O shots; and I noticed that after he went over to the bar, they were all gone. EASTER: He took all the shots?