James Harden traded to Houston Rockets

Rather than pay the luxury tax or make other moves, the Oklahoma City Thunder have sold high on James Harden.

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Harden 'hurt' by Thunder's last contract offer

James Harden said he was "hurt" that the Thunder only gave him an hour to accept their last-ditch contract extension. His reaction is understandable, but there's not much Sam Presti could have done about that.


Harden in Houston for the long haul?

New Houston Rocket James Harden could stay a Houston Rocket, according to a USA Today report.


James Harden: 'We can have something special here"

New Houston Rockets guard James Harden is excited about the future of his new team.


So you don't have a James Harden. Now what?

Now that we've recovered from the shock of the James Harden trade, how will the Thunder and Rockets work in their new players?


Don't impose your values on James Harden

If you criticize James Harden for choosing money over the chance to compete for titles with the Thunder, you're imposing your own value system on a 23-year-old who's doing just fine.


Harden expected to sign extension with Rockets

James Harden, one of the newest Houston Rockets and the centerpiece of Saturday night's surprise blockbuster trade, is expected to sign a long-term deal with Houston before the regular season starts.

Harden was dealt Saturday night along with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward form the Thunder to the Rockets. Oklahoma City received Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and draft picks in return.

Harden is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, and told reporters that while he expects to get a deal done before Wednesday's deadline, that is not his primary concern.

"I'll let them figure that out with my agent," he said. "My focus right now is Houston and how I can make them better. ... I feel like I can help build it and bring my talents over here."

Harden also said, however, that he wants to play for the Rockets long term.

"Just to be secure," he said. "I feel like I'm in a great position with a great team and great young guys who are willing to work hard."

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reported that the Rockets can offer Harden a five-year deal worth around $80 million.

The Rockets open the regular season Wednesday night in Detroit against the Pistons.


That moment when the Thunder became the new Spurs

By sending away a max-seeking James Harden, the Thunder have set up the franchise for long-term success at the cost of their odds to win it all in 2013. This is life in a small NBA market.


Rockets fans scoring this deal a win for Houston

Late Saturday night, the Houston Rockets acquired reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder for a package highlighted by Kevin Martin and 2012 lottery pick Jeremy Lamb. The Rockets also sent two first-round picks and a second-round pick to Oklahoma City in Saturday night's deal, in exchange for center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward.

The folks over at SB Nation's Rockets blog, The Dream Shake, are counting this deal a win for Houston and general manager Daryl Morey:

The Rockets scored big in this deal for three reasons. First, they got their franchise player. Better yet, he's young. Second, the Rockets got their wing depth even though they shipped out Martin and Lamb. Daequan Cook is no slouch coming off the bench and we're the same age (What am I doing with my life?). Third, and maybe most importantly, we have our back up center in Cole Aldrich.

The addition of Harden completes an eventful offseason for Houston, highlighted by the signing of Jeremy Lin away from the New York Knicks after his breakout campaign, and former Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik. A backcourt of Lin and Harden already has the gang at The Dream Shake excited. Adding veteran depth in the deal is just a bonus, and will give rookies Terrence Jones and Royce White time to develop.

The Rockets' roster is now at 20, meaning five players need to be cut by 5 p.m. on Monday.


OKC faithful react to Harden trade

In the wake of Saturday night's James Harden trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets, Welcome to Loud City broke down every element of the trade to Thunder fans as they try to decide how to properly react to losing their third-best player and one of the fan favorites.

Like most fans, Welcome to Loud City's initial reaction was negative. They questioned whether trading Harden now was something the team truly needed to do. They went player by player and said goodbye to Harden, Cole Aldrich and Daequan Cook, remembering them for what they did and could have done for the Thunder.

They then introduced the new guys in Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb as well as broke down each one of the draft picks the Thunder got as well.

After it all, Welcome to Loud City came to this conclusion:

But with this deal, everything's done. Harden's gone. The Thunder are still young, with two of the best players in the game locked up for years to come. They've got Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones to continue to provide chances for improvement. A solid veteran to replace Harden. Another certain lottery pick in the pipeline. The best part of this trade, in my opinion, is that it gives room for the Thunder to grow. They're not stuck where they were. They still have a legitimate shot at a title, and they've opened up the door for future domination.

Though the beard is no longer, it seems like the Thunder faithful have figured out a way to understand this trade and look to the future. But it still remains to be seen if the Thunder, the league's favorite young team, made the right decision or their first mistake as a franchise.


New-look Rockets complete after deal for Harden

The defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder shipped Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to the Houston Rockets on Saturday for a package highlighted by veteran Kevin Martin and 2012 lottery pick Jeremy Lamb. Houston's deal for Harden completes a massive offseason overhaul for the Rockets, who devoted much of their pre-draft time to clearing roster and cap space for a chance at Dwight Howard. With the deal for Howard never transpiring, Houston general manager Daryl Morey began adding pieces to a roster bereft of talent.

The headline signing this offseason for the Rockets was Jeremy Lin, snatched away from the New York Knicks after his breakout campaign last year. Morey also brought in former Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik to shore up the middle. In addition to the now-dealt Lamb, Houston took Terrence Jones and Royce White in this year's draft, both promising prospects. Along with Harden, the Rockets acquired center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward in Saturday night's deal.

The Rockets' roster is now at 20, meaning five players need to be cut by 5 p.m. on Monday. Houston was in for a long season already, but the arrival of Harden to go with Lin and Asik will certainly make Houston an entertaining bunch this year.


The end of something awesome

The James Harden trade rocked the NBA out of nowhere Saturday night, and while we pick up the pieces, only one thing is certain: the Thunder's future just got a lot more complicated.


Will Harden sign max contract with Houston?

If the Oklahoma City Thunder's offer of four years for $53-$54 million wasn't enough for James Harden, what is? The Houston Rockets, Harden's new team as of Saturday night, are planning to ink the young rising star to the max contract of four to five years for $60 million.

Houston cannot officially begin to negotiate with Harden's representatives until the deal between the two teams is completed and blessed by the league. Harden's agent, like all agents, wants to secure the highest payout for his or her client. Getting Harden to Houston is a start in the right direction. The small market team in Oklahoma City didn't want to tie up too much money on future payroll, especially on a player less important than its stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Houston is a significantly larger market with a lower payroll locked in.

One thing that will help Houston justify the larger contract is playing time. Harden will start in Houston and play plenty of minutes.


Kevin Martin is the new James Harden in OKC

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to Houston on Saturday and will expect Kevin Martin to take his spot as the all-important sixth man.


Lamb to lose playing time with Thunder?

How will his trade to the Thunder impact Jeremy Lamb's playing time this season?


Rockets acquire Cook, Hayward and Aldrich, too

The Rockets acquired guards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward and center Cole Aldrich along with James Harden from the Thunder.


Rockets say Harden will make immediate impact

The Houston Rockets made a splash on Saturday night, trading for Oklahoma City's reigning Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden, and owner Leslie Alexander couldn't be more pleased.

"We are very excited with tonight's trade," Alexander said in a team press release. "While I never like having to send out quality players like Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, this trade gives us a chance to make an immediate impact on the future of our franchise moving forward. James Harden was part of Team USA's gold medal team at the London Olympics and is one of the most skilled shooting guards in the NBA. James, along with the mix of young players we already have in place, such as Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik, give us a very solid group of young, talented players who will form the core of our team."

Harden, who will be a restricted free agent in 2013, had spent the first three seasons of his career with the Thunder. In 2011-12, Harden averaged 16.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game off the bench, averaging 16.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in the postseason. The Thunder attempted to sign Harden to a four-year, $54 million contract extension that was turned down; the Rockets are expected to sign Harden to a four-year, $60 million contract.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigan that Harden is the "foundational" player the franchise has been looking for during the past few seasons. "He makes us better from day one and will play a big part in helping get us back to a championship level," Morey said.

The Rockets finished the 2011-12 season with a record of 34-32, missing the postseason for the third straight year. Houston begins the season on Wednesday, Oct. 31 against the Detroit Pistons.


Harden turns down final Thunder offer, gets traded

In a shocking turn of events, the Oklahoma City Thunder have traded star guard James Harden after a final offer of four years, $53-$54 million wasn't enough to get Harden to re-sign with the Thunder, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

Harden, who will be a restricted free agent this upcoming summer, had been in negotiations on a contract extension with the Thunder, but the small market team had to watch their money since they'd already extended Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook. Harden is seen as a max-level talent across the league and apparently will get that in Houston. Wojnarowski tweeted that Houston plans to give Harden a four-year, $60 million extension once the deal is completed.

The Thunder have now broken up their young star trio of Durant, Westbrook and Harden, possibly altering the top of the Western Conference just days before the opening of the regular season. In return, the Thunder received Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two 2013 first-round draft picks (from Dallas and Toronto) and a 2013 second-round pick via Charlotte from Houston.


Sam Presti: 'We wanted to sign James Harden'

While the Oklahoma City Thunder ultimately decided to trade guard James Harden to the Houston Rockets, general manager Sam Presti told reporters that the team wanted to sign the 23-year-old to an extension.


5 other players, 3 picks included in Harden deal

More details have emerged about the trade that will send James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets, via Darnell Mayberry at The Oklahoman.

Along with Harden, the Rockets will receive center Cole Aldrich, outside shooting specialist Daequan Cook and rookie guard/forward Lazar Hayward. The Thunder will receive guard Kevin Martin, rookie guard/No. 12 overall pick Jeremy Lamb and three draft picks.

The picks the Thunder pickup are a 2013 protected first-round pick from the Toronto Raptors, a protected 2013 first round pick from the Dallas Mavericks, and a 2013 second-round pick from the Charlotte Bobcats. Houston acquired the Raptors' pick in the Kyle Lowry trade, the Mavericks' pick from the Lakers in the Derek Fisher deal, and the Raptors' pick in the Courtney Lee trade.

It's not a terrible haul for the Thunder, given the fact that they had little leverage. Daryl Morey and every other general manager considering a deal for Harden was well aware that Oklahoma City was unlikely to give Harden a max deal and pay the luxury tax that would go along with it. Sam Presti is going to catch plenty of criticism, however, since that's always the case when a general manager makes a big trade and doesn't acquire the best player involved in the deal.


Harden headed to Houston

With one year remaining on James Harden's contract, the Oklahoma City have opted to trade him while his value is at its peak, rather than negotiating a deal or paying the luxury tax. He'll head to Houston for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and picks.

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