NBA News: Thunder Trade James Harden to Houston Rockets Reviewed by Momizat on . In one of the more stunning NBA moves in recent memory, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner James Harden to the Houston Rocke In one of the more stunning NBA moves in recent memory, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner James Harden to the Houston Rocke Rating:
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NBA News: Thunder Trade James Harden to Houston Rockets

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In one of the more stunning NBA moves in recent memory, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner James Harden to the Houston Rockets after failing to agree to a contract extension. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news late Saturday night, and quickly set off a firestorm of surprised reaction.

The decision to trade Harden was made after the Thunder couldn’t agree to a long-term extension with their reserve guard, and GM Sam Presti made the decision to move him rather than possibly losing him for nothing when his contract expires at the end of the season. Regardless, it was a stunning move after a season where the team reached the NBA Finals, and many were picking them to return to the championship series this year.

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Following the move, it seems that Harden was as surprised as the rest of us when he learned about the deal, according to ESPN.

“It happened so fast, it happened very fast,” Harden said. “But this is the position I’m in in now. Just have to make the best out of it. I’m with Houston now. I just have to come in here and play hard and win games.”

For Laker fans this looks like an unexpected gift. The Thunder were (and most likely still are) the Lakers’ biggest threat in the Western Conference. By moving Harden the team is suddenly left trying to replace his production. While Kevin Martin is a serviceable scorer and Jeremy Lamb has tremendous upside, it seems that the team mortgaged a chance to win the championship this season by letting Harden play the year out and attempting to re-sign him next summer.

Honestly it is a glaring example of the differences between a team like the Thunder and a franchise like the Lakers. While not all markets are created equal, the contrasting mindsets is quite interesting to consider. Remember, the Lakers traded their best young player (Andrew Bynum) for a center whose contract is up at the end of the year and without any guarantees of an extension. Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers’ brass expect the lure of the Lakers and the prestige of the franchise to get Howard to stick around. On the other hand the Thunder realize they’re not going to be able to pay Harden what he wants, and moved him a year early rather than being left with nothing in 10 months.

Regardless, it was a stunning move, one that is somewhat hard to understand. The Thunder are still a very dangerous team, and thinking that this makes them less of a threat to the Lakers is dangerous. Still, it isn’t often you see a team come that close to the championship only to trade one of their most valuable assets.

In case you missed it: Dwight Howard talks about the slow process of putting together a championship team.

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About The Author

Daniel is the former Editor-in-Chief of LakersNation. He has also written for SLAM, ESPN and other various publications. Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielbuergeLA

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q7ZJEQKURNVKYREFIA6CQ5KJ7I Rasheed

    As a Lakers fan, this trade will be good and bad.
    Good: big threat is out/6th man of the year.
    Bad: Not having the complete rejoice of beating OKC this 2012-2013 year, w/o Hardern, it wouldn’t be the same. I wanted harden to play in OKC so my Lakers could take back western conference back to L.A.

    I feel bad for the OKC Thunder fans.
    There is no loyalty in this sports “Steve Nash”.
    Every player should have the right to make the final decision :)

  • Crystal

    Definitely didn’t see this coming but we just gotta wait and see how it goes.

    • Bob

      The bottom line is it didn’t hurt OKC as much as it helped the Rockets, who are already an under the radar WC threat, and continue to show they are not afraid to make major player acquisitions reguardless of cost and they have a REAL coach DANGER DANGER

  • Bayareaurbano

    It was a goid trade kevin martin plays hard great scorer and avg defender i dont see lots of different other than one is a perimiter shooter the other penetrates

    • Bigraidernation

      when harden penetrates it created problems for us always in penalty giving cheap points at the freethrow line(harden,westbrook all game)now howard does’nt have to worry about harden and westbrook just westbrook big mistake by okc just made it easy for us to get to finals lakers4life baby

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Anderson/100000211432825 William Anderson

    Thunder shot themselves in the foot, but it will turn out to be a boon for the Lakers so I am happy. The Thunder just ruined their continuity and chemistry… They’re pretty much where the Lakers are now as far as trying to find their chemistry…except we have more talent. Lakers-Heat in the Finals and Lakers win in 6 or 7 games…

  • Bayareaurbano

    I think they still have the same chance its hard to come out if the west to play the east east is a cake walk other than the bulls and heat theres no other great team the west has atleast 6 or 7 good teams

  • http://www.facebook.com/willie.woodson2 Willie Woodson

    They had their run OKC can not compete with big market teams if their players want max deals Harden production off the bench will be missed.Kevin Martin is a scorer nothing else Lamb a rookie good luck this move

  • Lakers_824

    This guy was the only threat to Lakers…..he shut down kobe in the playoffs and was just destroying out bench, now hes gone its over, martin aint got no D and its gonna take lamb time to become good. All there chemistry is fucked up now

  • honestly

    looks like David Stern wont veto this one… LMFAO!!!! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sinbad.sean Sinbad Sean

    anyone who thinks the Thunder are better off, doesn’t know basketball….. They should have risked losing Harden to try to WIN a Championship and convince him to take less money, than trade him and try to win with a new player who has to learn a new offense and teammates style of play. The BIG THING with Harden is his EXPLOSIVITY – he came off the bench with so much energy and desire to take to the throat of the opponent – Martin can’t match that!

  • Gspot

    good for lakers – long term. puts doubt in okc commitment to win. durant to lakers in 2016. lets go lakers!

  • OdumBAMA

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