Report: Rockets acquire James Harden from Thunder
Feb 15, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (13) looks to pass against Houston Rockets shooting guard Courtney Lee (5) during the second quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US Presswire
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Oklahoma City Thunder have traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks (protected picks via Toronto and Dallas) and a second-round pick.
Harden, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, reportedly rejected an extension worth $52 million that would have payed him $13 million per year. The Thunder, who would have payed upwards of $67 million to five players next season, shaved off future luxury tax payments with the deal.
Houston has amassed assets for this very possibility: an attainable superstar. Harden, 23, posted the third highest player efficiency rating (PER) among shooting guards, a mark only bested by Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant.
Despite attempting 4.7 3-pointers last game, Harden was the second most efficient player in the league behind Tyson Chandler. Harden finished third in free throw rate last season, complementing his perimeter oriented game and upping his overall efficiency in the process.
The Spurs, meanwhile, may stand to benefit most from the trade although the Thunder still figure to be offensive juggernauts next season.