OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma – The Oklahoma City Thunder shipped guard James Harden to the Houston Rockets on Saturday in exchange for guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb along with undisclosed draft selections.
The Western Conference champion Thunder will also send guard Daequan Cook, forward Lazar Hayward and center Cole Aldrich to the Rockets in the deal, which followed failed talks between Harden and Oklahoma City on a contract extension.
ESPN reported that The Thunder offered Harden, who earned the league’s Sixth Man award as top reserve last season, $55.5 million over four years. That was less than Harden wanted, and which he will reportedly get from the Rockets.
“We wanted to sign James to an extension, but at the end of the day, these situations have to work for all those involved,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement.
“Our ownership group again showed their commitment to the organization with several significant offers.
“We were unable to reach a mutual agreement, and therefore executed a trade that capitalized on the opportunity to bring in a player of Kevin’s caliber, a young talent like Jeremy and draft picks, which will be important to our organizational goal of a sustainable team,” Presti said.
Harden averaged 16.8 points and 3.7 assists last season, and joined Thunder team-mates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the US men’s Olympic team that won gold in London.