In a shocking blockbuster trade Saturday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder sent reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to the Rockets in exchange for rookie Jeremy Lamb—the 12th overall pick of this year's draft—veteran Kevin Martin and draft picks.
Along with Harden, the Thunder will also send Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward and Daequan Cook to Houston.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports was among the first to break the news.
Oklahoma City has traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 28, 2012
Minutes later, Wojnarowski provided more details on the deal.
Along with All-Star guard James Harden, the Thunder will send Cole Aldridge, Lazr Hayward and Daquan Cook to the Rockets, source tells Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 28, 2012
As ESPN points out, Harden was the most productive bench scorer in the league last year.
#OKCThunder trade James Harden to Rockets. Harden averaged NBA-best 16.9 PPG off bench last season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 28, 2012
Although the move comes as a surprise, the fact OKC and Harden were struggling to hammer out an extension should have been at least a minor sign. Legion Sports reminds us about the $52 million extension he turned down.
James Harden turned down a $52 million dollar extension, OKC wasted no time and traded him to the Rockets. WOW.— Legion Sports (@MySportsLegion) October 28, 2012
Thunder beat writer Darnell Mayberry, of The Oklahoman, gave us some Twitter insight on GM Sam Presti's thought process.
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
Presi: "Our ownership group again showed their commitment to the organization with several significant offers."— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 28, 2012
Miami Heat superstar LeBron James seemed as surprised as the rest of us.
Of course, for the Thunder fans who may be self-loathing over the departure of the Bearded One, SoleCollector.com makes a great point—at least they got something for him.
Best joke of the night: OKC got more for James Harden than Orlando got for Dwight.....— SoleCollector.com (@SoleCollector) October 28, 2012
ESPN's Chris Palmer isn't discussing the Rockets' addition of Harden, but rather OKC's addition of rookie Jeremy Lamb. While the Thunder may lose some production in the short term, Lamb is a quality prospect who could pay huge dividends in the future.
Watch this kid Jeremy Lamb. Good one.— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) October 28, 2012
If you were wondering what superstar Kevin Durant thought of his team's situation, hopefully you weren't expecting a whole lot of insight.
Wow— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 28, 2012
As Scott Souza of the Metro West Daily points out, the Thunder were basically on the other end of the spectrum in a similar situation when they acquired Kendrick Perkins from Boston.
Interesting that OKC got Kendrick Perkins after #Celtics couldn't reach extension, now feel forced to trade James Harden in same situation.— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) October 28, 2012
Following the trade, the Houston Rockets' official Twitter account provided a vid including comments by Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
Obviously, the Houston Rockets are stocked about the transaction, and Rockets GM Daryl Morey expressed his positive feelings through Twitter.
Welcome 2the Rockets @jharden13 ! Coach McHale & I had a gr8 conversation w/James tonight. We look forward 2welcoming him 2Houston tomorrow— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) October 28, 2012