October 29, 2012 1:10 PM by Braxton
On Saturday evening, while I was watching the Giants shut down the Tigers in game three of the World Series, I got a notification on my iPhone. James “Fear The Beard” Harden had been traded. Along with many other NBA fans, I didn’t know what to think. We all knew this might happen, but not before the regular season has started. We all thought the Thunder would do one of three things: sign Harden to a contract, and keep him, complete a sign-and-trade, or just let Harden enter free agency next off-season.
After turning down a $52 million offer, Harden’s agent, Rob Pelinka flew to Oklahoma City to try and get the 23-year old Shooting Guard a max-contract (4-years, $60M). It had also been reported that for a very long time, Daryl Morey, the GM of the Houston Rockets, has called Sam Presti, GM of the Thunder, numerous times asking about working out a trade for James Harden. Presti always declined. Well, now the tables had turned.
After Harden and his agent couldn’t come to terms on a new contract with the Thunder, Sam Presti called Daryl Morey. For a long time, Morey and the Rockets wanted James Harden because they believe that he is a superstar in the making, and they are probably right. As reported by Yahoo! Sports, the original price was very steep for James Harden. Sam Presti wanted to receive Guard Kevin Martin, Forward Chandler Parsons, rookie Guard Jeremy Lamb, and three first-round draft picks. As good as Harden is, and will be, those are some very valuable players. After talking it over, the final deal became this:
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Shooting Guard Kevin Martin, Shooting Guard Jeremy Lamb, a lottery protected first-round draft pick from Toronto (Houston acquired this pick from the Raptors in the Kyle Lowry deal), another first-round draft pick (acquired when they traded Jordan Hill to the Lakers), and a second round pick (acquired when they traded Courtney Lee to Boston).
Houston Rockets receive: Shooting Guard James Harden, Shootjng Guard/Small Forward Daequan Cook, Small Forward Lazar Hayward, and Center Cole Aldrich.
It is expected that Daryl Morey will offer James Harden a 5-year, $80 million contract before Wednesday. It is also expected that James Harden will sign the contract, immediately making him the center-piece of the Houston Rockets.