The deal has just been officially announced by the Thunder. In a statement, Thunder GM Sam Presti says...— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 28, 2012
UPDATE: Sunday, October 28 at 12:11 a.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to the Rockets' Twitter feed, the trade is official:
---End of Update---
Mayberry also quoted Thunder GM Sam Presti following the announcement of the deal.
Presti: "We wanted to sign James to an extension, but at the end of the day, these situations have to work for all those involved."— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 28, 2012
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported (via Twitter) the expected contract details for Harden in Houston.
Houston plans to give James Harden a four year, $60 million extension once deal is completed, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 28, 2012
In exchange for Harden, the Thunder will also receive guards Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and “significant” future draft considerations, according to Wojnarowski. Houston, in addition to Harden, will receive Cole Aldridge, Lazar Hayward and Daequan Cook.
The trade, although somewhat expected, came just days before the NBA kicks off its season on October 30 and before the deadline (Wednesday) to ink an extension on the Sixth Man of the Year.
Earlier on Saturday Wojnarowski reported sources told him that Harden rejected a four-year, $52 million extension offer from the Thunder and the rest was easy to predict.
The fact that it happened so soon is surprising.
Thunder GM Sam Presti opted to deal Harden now and get maximum value instead of playing out the season with him and letting him reach the restricted free agency pool on July 1, 2013.
Harden was a key player in bringing the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012 due to his staunch defense and bountiful bench scoring.
Playing off the bench and making bench-type salary obviously lost its appeal for Harden.
With the Rockets he will find himself in a more significant and likely starting role that will garner him more towards the long-term max-salary deal that he was likely seeking from the Thunder.
Oklahoma City already has Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook locked into long-term deals and asking and hoping Harden would play for incentives and for the good of the team ended up backfiring on the team.