Harden to Houston: Thunder Trade Away Key Piece
The reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year has been traded away from the reigning Western Conference Champions 72 hours prior to the start of the 2012-13 NBA regular season.
The Thunder are sending SG James Harden, along with SG Daequan Cook, C Cole Aldrich and SF Lazar Hayward are en route to Houston, with the Rockets sending SGs Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb back to Oklahoma City, along with two first round picks and a second round selection.
Harden won the 2012 Sixth Man of the Year award after playing in all 62 games of the lockout-shortened season (with only two starts), averaging 16.8 points per game and nearly two three-pointers a game, while also holding down a stat line of 4.1 RPG, 3.7 APG and 1 SPG. His field-goal percentage (.491) and free-throw percentage (.846) certainly didn’t hurt, either.
Reportedly, Harden balked at the Thunder’s 4-year, $52 million extension proposal earlier in the day, leading to the Thunder becoming more aggressive in trade talks. Harden is in the final year of his rookie contract and will make just short of $6 million this year. ESPN’s Chris Broussard is reporting that Houston has already committed to giving Harden a max extension of four years and $60 million.
The Thunder stay fully stocked with guards in taking back Martin and Lamb. Martin is also in the last year of his contract and earning about $12.5 million, while Lamb is fresh out of the University of Connecticut, drafted just four months ago with the Rockets’ 12th overall selection.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the virtues and mishaps of this trade for both sides, but we as a staff at WaiverWireBlog.com generally agree that both sides benefit quite a bit from this deal. We shall see what some rest and rethinking do to those opinions.
Check back tomorrow for more.