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James Harden to Houston: Rapid Reaction

Houston receives: James Harden, Lazar Haywood, Cole Aldrich, and Daequan Cook. Oklahoma City receives: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, the Dallas (Top 20 protected) pick, Toronto's lottery guaranteed pick, Charlotte's 2nd round pick.


News is still filtering in about the trade of James Harden to the Houston Rockets (Thanks to my buddy Joel for breaking the news to me via text) but since the 28th is my birthday and I’m convinced Daryl Morey had that in mind, I’m giving you my take. The framework of the deal right now is as follows:

Houston receives: James Harden, Lazar Haywood, Cole Aldrich, and Daequan Cook.Oklahoma City receives: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, the Dallas pick, Toronto pick, and the Charlotte 2nd rounder (Pointed out by Hairali).

I’m chalking this one up to a win for Daryl Morey. The Rockets have ample cap space to toy around and Harden was dealt as soon as 4 years and 53 million dollars wasn’t good enough. Houston can up the ante on that. Harden comes as a do it all SG and is widely considered one of the best shooting guards in the NBA though his role has been tethered to the bench. The Rockets scored big in this deal for three reasons. First, they got their franchise player. Better yet, he’s young. Second, the Rockets got their wing depth even though they shipped out Martin and Lamb. Daequan Cook is no slouch coming off the bench and we’re the same age (What am I doing with my life?). Third, and maybe most importantly, we have our back up center in Cole Aldrich.

The Rockets are preparing to tender Harden four years, 60 million dollars for his services once the deal is completed (Per Feigen). This, along with the core of young players that were just imported to Houston, bodes very well for the rebuilding Rockets. I have to tip my hat to Daryl. I was down on him and then this comes out of nowhere. The Rockets seized on an opportunity, stocked the team with youth, and now have all the ingredients to sneak into the playoffs at the 7th or 8th spot. We have one critical difference that makes this team something to get excited about. We have our building block.

This is a rapid reaction, so bear with me. Houston gave up nothing of extreme value to send this rebuild into high gear. Let’s look at the face value of what we traded.

Kevin Martin – Past his peak contribution period, disgruntled with the Rockets, one trick pony, 10 mil expiring contract.

Jeremy Lamb – I was extremely high on him but let’s face it, he’s not in Harden’s league and he was going to see bench minutes til Kevin got traded anyhow.

The Dallas pick – -Fart- It’s protected in the top 20 and Dallas is in a position to hold onto that pick for a while until it falls off the radar.

The Toronto pick – Toronto is looking like they stand a shot to show up in the playoffs in the East. If that’s the case, as it may very well be, this pick is useless for years until the protection drops off.

So, lump sum, what did Houston give up? A pair of slick offensive shooting guards, one with potential to be well rounded, the other with the potential to tear a muscle that sounds oddly similar to lady parts, and a pair of picks that may never come to mean anything anyhow. What we got in return is one of the best shooting guards in the league (And believe me, Harden’s role behind Westbrook and Durant diminishes how great he actually is) who is YOUNG, knows winning, and with supporting pieces drafted by one of the best in the business in the draft. This is like having the Patriots trade you Tom Brady in his prime plus the playbook. Oklahoma City is going to be good for a while, that’s a given. This Rockets team is now poised to actually move up while Oklahoma City starts to taper off. This is what we’ve wanted all along. The future is clearer and brighter in Houston, MUCH more than it was earlier this year. Can you wait to see the Rockets trot out the offensive threat of Lin and Harden? Now bring it back on defense and we shored up everything. Second team? Got our depth there too and we don’t have to cringe at the idea of Patterson manning the center spot or Motiejunas getting pushed around by NBA centers either.

Feel free to sound off in the comments section below. I went from not caring much to watch Houston this year to anxiously waiting for the NBA season to tip off. Whatever we can piece together through the draft and subsequent trades will be a wonderful addition to this team.