The Oklahoma City Thunder dealt James Harden to the Houston Rockets last night and got back Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, 2 1st round draft picks, and a 2nd round draft pick. The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade found the trade “shocking”, but also thought that the Thunder got a lot back for him.
“It was shocking but they made the move they felt was right for them,” Dwyane Wade said.
“It shakes up the West a little bit. I think both teams got fair value. I’m not a GM or anything but both teams came out pretty good… I’m not one of those guys who fell back too far. They have good depth, Kevin Martin is a pretty good scorer in this league. We’ll see how it shakes out but I still think they’re the best team in the West right now,” he added.
LeBron James apparently had a feeling that something might happen with Harden, but was still surprised by the trade.
“I think we all know that James Harden was a big part of their team,” James said. “He was a big part of why they made it to the Finals. They got a couple pieces back that are really good as well. But we don’t know how it changes their team until they actually get out there.”
Wade also believes that Harden may experience some change as far as expectations when he is expected to deliver every night as a max-contract player.
“All eyes are focused on you night after night, it’s different when you come off the bench and you have a big night and everyone talks about it and if you don’t there’s not much written about it,” Wade said about Harden.
“It’s what he wanted in a sense. That’s what he wanted when he didn’t take the extension. He wanted his worth and he wanted to be featured. He’s going to get featured. He’s a pretty good player. He can live up to the billing but the grind is tough. Every night to step up to what everyone believes that you should do because of the dollar about you ask for. He’s still young, he’s still coming into his own. He can do some things (in Houston), we’ll see.”
Honestly, the Heat are probably secretly thrilled that they don’t have to fear the beard coming off the bench. Harden was not only the highest scoring bench player in the NBA last year, but also was the primary ball-handler when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were seated.
I believe the day will come 2 or 3 years into Harden’s max contract, probably when the Rockets have landed in the lottery for consecutive years, that Harden will regret not sacrificing a bit of money in order to play for a contender year after year. The emergence of Perry Jones off the Thunder bench in the pre-season may mean that the Thunder don’t lose more than a couple steps once they get used to all their new personnel, but this shakes up things in the West and it may take the Thunder a couple months to get used to their new set of players. I’m not looking forward to seeing Harden in the Rockets lame looking uniforms and all the Oklahoma City Fans who bought fake beards probably won’t have any luck asking for their money back. Sam Presti sure didn’t.