Oklahoma City Thunder trade James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin and draft picks.
(Mark D. Smith/US Presswire)
James Harden played a huge role in the rise of the OKC Thunder.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were unable to sign Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to an extension. So the Western Conference Champions traded the third-year swingman along with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to the Houston Rockets for guard Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb and three draft picks.
Are the Thunder bowing down to the Lakers?
The Oklahoma City Thunder knew losing James Harden was a real possibility. Instead of watching Harden walk away with no one coming in behind him, the Thunder traded the NBA’s best reserve to ensure compensation.
The Thunder will miss the energy that Harden brought off the bench to the tune of 16.8 points, 4 rebounds and nearly 4 assists per game. The trade breaks up the best young trio in the league. Harden along with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to the NBA Finals last season. This summer the three were teammates on gold medal winning Team USA at the London Olympics.
In return the Thunder get a quality player in Kevin Martin. Last season with the Rockets, Martin averaged 17.1 points per game. Rookie Jeremy Lamb from UConn is a smooth 6’5″ swingman who could develop into a big-time scorer for OKC.
Moving Harden also opens the door for rookie Perry Jones III from Baylor. Jones is a versatile 6’11″ forward who will compliment defensive stud Serge Ibaka as well as adding depth and athleticism off the bench. Jones is recovering from a knee injury that kept him from being a lottery pick in this summer’s draft.
These are quality acquisitions. Don’t believe for a second the Thunder are conceding their Western Conference crown to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Harden will become a starter in Houston – something he only did twice in Oklahoma City last season. The Rockets lost out on Dwight Howard, but have acquired an excellent player in Harden who will play alongside prized free agent point guard Jeremy Lin.