James Harden, the NBA Sixth Man of the Year and part of the Oklahoma City Thunder “Big Three” was moved to the Houston Rockets in a surprising trade on the eve of the NBA’s Opening Night. Harden was traded from Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb. Martin is a very deadly three-point shooter and Lamb is a highly regarded rookie who helped UConn win a national championship two years ago. But trading Harden is a surprising move for a team with a championship contending lineup already in place.
”Harden is a player we can build around, and continue to improve the team around his skills,” Rockets GM Daryl Morey said. ”He’s an elite offensive player, a complete player. He can pass, shoot, attack the basket. Even though he’s a gold medalist, an Olympian and made the Finals, I still think he’s an underrated player. He’s absolutely someone who, when they see him step into the role of a star for the Houston Rockets, people are going to realize just how good he is.”
”I’m excited to be here,” Harden said. ”The organization has done a great job, they’ve made me feel welcome. I think we have something special here. We’re young, but those guys want to work and get better, so we want things days at a time.”
The Rockets are trying to get into contention in the Western Conference this year. They’ve added Jeremy Lin to go with a good group of young players such as Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson, and now with Harden, they believe they are one more top line player away from being right there with the Lakers and Thunder in the West. So look for Houston to maybe try and pull off one more deal soon, perhaps for a top flight center. They were one of the teams who was seriously pursuing Dwight Howard before he wound up a Laker.