SH Blog: Why did Harden-to-Houston happen, and what does it mean?

By now you’ve probably heard that the Thunder dealt last season’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden, to the Rockets for three draft picks, rookie Jeremy Lamb, and guard Kevin Martin.

It’s a bold move for rebuilding Houston, now banking on Harden becoming a franchise cornerstone, and a bit of a questionable one for the Thunder, who will still battle for a title this season, but will find that more difficult without Harden. The move comes after the Thunder and Harden could not agree on an extension, and Houston’s first order of business will almost certainly be getting Harden locked up long-term.

We’ve got lots of reactions to the deal below, but first make sure you’ve read Chris Bernucca’s coverage of the trade, and Kent Williams’ examination of the fantasy fallout. Also, check out Jan Hubbard’s latest column where he discusses some of the big questions heading into the season.

Now, here’s all the latest NBA news, with a whole lot of Harden trade reactions, plus loads more:

  • Kicking things off, here’s about as in-depth a look at the trade that as you’re going to find. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports looks at the motivations of all the principal players, and the reactions of several Thunder players in this excellent piece. Here’s a taste: “For months, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey called on Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti, probing him with a simple question: Want to discuss a deal for James Harden yet? Over and over, the response had been an unwavering no. The Thunder wanted to sign Harden to a contract extension, hold together their young core and try to win championships for years and years. Finally, there had come a call within the past several days to Morey: Presti wanted to seriously discuss the framework of a trade, because if Harden wouldn’t take the Thunder’s final offer, this promised to be the next step. From owner Clay Bennett to Presti and assistant GM Troy Weaver, a decision had been made: James Harden had played his final game for the Thunder.”

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