Rockets trade for Harden in blockbuster

Rockets trade for Harden in blockbuster
October 27, 2012, 10:15 pm
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Morey on Rockets' trade for Harden

(US Presswire)

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The Rockets made a huge splash just days away from the start of the NBA's regular season.

James Harden is coming to Houston.

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On Saturday night, the Rockets traded Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin, two first-round picks and a future second-round pick to Oklahoma City for Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan cook and Lazar Haywood.

"We think James is a guy we can build our team around," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said on Comcast SportsNet Saturday night.

Harden, 23, in the NBA's reigning Sixth Man of the Year. He averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game last season. He was the third overall pick by the Thunder in the 2009 NBA draft.

"Yeah, we're very excited," Morey said. "He's an All-Star caliber player we've been looking to add to the team. Obviously, on the recent Dream Team, youngest player on that team.

"We're excited. This is an elite offensive player who is solid in all other areas of the game as well."

Harden won a gold medal in this past summer's Olympics as a member of Team USA.

Harden trade reflects 'win now' mentality

Harden had been in contract talks with the Thunder but when talks broke down, Oklahoma City moved the guard. If Harden wasn't traded and wasn't re-signed by the Thunder by Wednesday, he could have become a free agent on July 1.

"Any time you get an All-Star caliber player who's young and in his prime, that's a very hard thing to do," Morey said. "Usually, it's gotta be through the draft...

"Obviously, getting a guy who has been to the NBA Finals and has that experience is something we really didn't have on this team. Now we've added James and James was a huge reason they went there."

While the Rockets, got Harden, they gave up two players and several draft picks.

Lamb was the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft out of UConn. He averaged 11.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season with the Huskies.

Martin has been in the NBA since 2004 and was an older voice on the Rockets. He had been with the Rockets since the 2009-10 season. Last year he averaged 17.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

The two first-round picks and one second-round pick didn't originally belong to the Rockets. They came over in past trades.

"We are very excited with tonight's trade," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a released statement. "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."

Along with Harden, the Rockets get Aldrich, Cook and Hayward.

Aldrich was the 10th pick in the 2010 draft. The Hornets drafted Aldrich out of Kansas but traded his rights to the Thunder the same night. Aldrich averaged 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 44 games last season.

Cook has averaged 7.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 279 NBA games. Cook, entering his sixth NBA season, was taken 21st overall by the Sixers in 2007.

Hayward has averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 rebounds since being taken by the Wizards with the 30th pick in 2010.

Check out Howard Chen's Rockets Report in Chinese on Jeremy Lin