Thunder trades James Harden to Rockets

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded guard James Harden to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, four days before the deadline for a contract extension.

Harden was sent to the Rockets with center Cole Aldrich, forward Lazar Hayward and guard Daequan Cook. The Thunder received guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick.

Oklahoma City received a top-three-protected 2013 first-round pick that Houston acquired from Toronto for Kyle Lowry, a 2013 first-round pick originally belonging to Dallas (top 20 protected) and a second-round pick originally belonging to Charlotte.

Harden, who was believed to be seeking a maximum contract extension of $60 million over four years, goes from the top of the Western Conference to the bottom. The 2012 Sixth Man Award winner helped the Thunder reach the NBA Finals last season. He now will be the starting shooting guard for the Rockets, whom many predicted to be the worst team in the West this season.
“We wanted to sign James to an extension, but at the end of the day, these situations have to work for all those involved,” Thunder GM Sam Presti said in a statement. “Our ownership group again showed their commitment to the organization with several significant offers.
“We were unable to reach a mutual agreement, and therefore executed a trade that capitalized on the opportunity to bring in a player of Kevin’s caliber, a young talent like Jeremy and draft picks, which will be important to our organizational goal of a sustainable team.”


  1. matt says

    I know people are saying the Thunder broke up their core, but no one ever asks a very simple question. Did Harden want to be the 6th man? He has the potential to be a star, and there isn’t enough of the ball to go around for him to do more in OKC. Thats why I think the deal was perfect. Harden gets his own team and OKC gets a great shooter in Martin coming off the bench (and even though he is streaky, the man averages more than 18 ppg during his career and has the quickness to get to the rim). Maynor is back, so the team doesn’t need Harden’s playmaking, and their bench is deeper than before with the included addition of Lamb and drafting of Jones.

  2. A.J. says

    Please. This is a GREAT trade for Oklahoma City. If Cleveland had taken Sam Presti from San Antonio instead of that incompetent idiot Danny Ferry, Cleveland would have multiple titles by now, and James would still be in Cleveland.

  3. JayMan says

    from what i read in other outlets, OKC and Harden
    were just $4.5M apart. so it begs the question:

    was that worth leaving on the table to go to a rebuilding
    program like the Rockets? was it worth leaving a chance
    to contend for seasons of losses?

    • Chris Bernucca says

      Some guys like winning. Some guys like money. This is the league now – Brook Lopez makes as much money as LeBron James. The mistake was making Perkins and Ibaka eight-figure guys, which they’re not.

      • JayMan says

        i see your point and it is true.

        just wanted to raise a point on: “This is the league now…”

        i think it goes back to the CBA. in OKC, you have a model
        of a small-market team that has to break it’s championship-contending
        core because of the financial hits.

        but you have LAL getting a 2-time MVP and a multi-DPOY winner
        for, technically, Bynum.

        can’t say i’m an OKC fan, but i do root for small markets. i guess this, to me,
        is a pretty evident case to push for more parity in the league.

      • Jim says

        Hasn’t it always been about $? Michael Jordan made over $30 million his last two years, he didn’t take a discount (and yes, I do think he was worth it). We should not blame players for taking extra money to go somewhere else, whether it is $16million, $6million, or $600k. Also, wouldn’t you react the same way after just being locked out by the owners? No player should ever feel pressured to take a home team discount. Plus, since the Rockets can give him a 5-year deal versus a 4-year if he were to be signed as RFA the difference is actually closer to $24million. Anyone who would turn down an extra $24 million (and yes, I know it is 5 years versus 4) is either lying to themselves or they can not comprehend what having an extra $24million in guaranteed money actually means. If we blame Harden for putting $ in front of a championship we have to also blame about 99% of all professional athletes. Should I blame Derrick Rose, my favorite player, for taking advantage of the new rule that gave him a higher a max deal because of his MVP even though it hurts the team cap moving forward? No, I shouldn’t, no one should. The average person changes jobs between 5-10 times in their professional careers, and I’m guessing most often it is to move up in title and move up in salary. Just because they play sports does not mean a championship should be any more important to them than it is to us in getting a new job.

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