Something I may have foreshadowed earlier to Serge Ibaka on twitter today, has come a reality on Saturday evening, when James Harden and Oklahoma City Thunder couldn’t agree on an extension it equated the Thunder to move fast. Per Adrian Wojnarowski and ESPN, the Thunder traded James Harden, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward and Cole Aldrich to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and future draft picks.
Houston also sent two 2013 first-round picks (from Dallas and Toronto) to Oklahoma City, sources told Y! Sports, as well as a 2013 second-round pick (via Charlotte).
Contract extension talks between the Thunder and Harden broke down, and Thunder GM Sam Presti moved quickly to trade the guard.
Outside of the initial shock and the “WTF JUST HAPPENED” reaction, the Thunder did what they believed was the correct move. They would have owed $67 million to just five players next season. The tax threshold for this season is $70.3 million. Starting next season, teams must pay $1.50 for every dollar they exceed the threshold.
This was the major reason of rumors swirling around if Harden would accept less money or not; obviously he wanted the bread, but he ended up getting the boot.
Kevin Martin is entering the last year of his contact, and speculation has already begun that he may be traded before February. Martin is known for his perimeter shooting with career average of 18.4 points on 44.3% shooting. Last season, he averaged 17.1 points on 41.3% shooting, and 34.7% from deep.
The Western Conference just became a bit more interesting.