Thunder trade Harden to Rockets
The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded guard James Harden to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster move that comes just days before the start of the regular season. The deal was first reported on twitter by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Wojnarowski reports that the Rockets will send Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and future draft considerations, including Dallas' 2013 first round pick and a protected 2013 first round pick from Toronto that the Rockets had acquired in a trade that sent Kyle Lowry to the Raptors. The Rockets will also recieve Cole Aldridge, Lazar Hayward, and Daequan Cook.
Harden was set to become a free agent next summer if he and the Thunder couldn't agree to an extension before October 31st, though the Thunder could have tendered him a qualifying offer at the end of the season, and therefore would have been able to match any offers for the 23-year-old.
Earlier on Saturday, Harden reportedly turned down a four-year, $52 million offer from the Thunder.
"We wanted to sign James to an extension, but at the end of the day, these situations have to work for all those involved. Our ownership group again showed their commitment to the organization with several significant offers," Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said in a press release from the team.
"We were unable to reach a mutual agreement, and therefore executed a trade that capitalized on the opportunity to bring in a player of Kevin's caliber, a young talent like Jeremy and draft picks, which will be important to our organizational goal of a sustainable team. We appreciate James, Cole, Daequan and Lazar’s contributions to the Thunder organization and this community and wish them the best in the future," Presti added.
The Rockets are expected to extend a maximum offer of $60 million over four years to Harden once they can begin negotiating with the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year.