thkthebest wrote:lakerswiz wrote:?
Does no one know about Kevin Martin? The dude is always at the top of the NBA's free throw list and averages 20+ points a game. They both handle the ball adequately, Harden isn't a saint in that regard nor is Martin. Both can get to the basket with ease, Martin maybe even a little easier. There's a reason he gets to the line so much.
The reason why Martin used to get to the line so much was because he did the "rip through" foul. After the rule change, his FTA took a nosedive. Kevin Martin is also definitely not a good ball handler, and he's nowhere near Harden in that regard.
I can only assume (since I don't watch college ball) that the centerpiece of this trade is not Kevin Martin, but the rookies/future prospects.
24/23goats wrote:harden is good... but not max money good. wtf was the point of the lockout if they still throw max money at players that are max players? so that they can spend less to pay the max? lol....max
James Harden Plans On Signing Extension With Rockets
HOUSTON -- James Harden plans to sign a long-term extension with the Houston Rockets before the regular season begins.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year joined his new team Sunday after he was traded to the Rockets from Oklahoma City late Saturday. The Thunder acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick in the surprising deal. Oklahoma City also sent center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston.
"It happened so fast, it happened very fast," Harden said. "But this is the position I'm in in now. Just have to make the best out of it. I'm with Houston now. I just have to come in here and play hard and win games."
Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Houston was able to offer Harden a contract that Oklahoma City could not.
"Quite honestly, the value of the trade was greater based on the fact that the Rockets could offer him the contract that he was seeking," Presti said. "By doing it when we did it, it allowed the Rockets to secure -- or I believe it will allow the Rockets to secure him and James will get the contract that he was seeking. And because of that, we were able to capitalize on the trade and probably get a little bit more than we would have if we would have waited."
The Rockets nabbed Harden on the night before holding a public practice at the Toyota Center. An hour before the practice started, fans peered into the shaded, street-level glass windows to catch a glimpse of the new arrival on the Rockets' practice court.
The 23-year-old Harden says he'll have to adjust to a rebuilding team after playing for a contender in Oklahoma City.
"I would love to Thank Oklahoma City for 3 amazing years!" Harden tweeted Sunday. "Teammates and Fans were thee best. The love will always be there. Thanks Again."
The acquisition of Harden completes an offseason overhaul for the Rockets, who've missed the playoffs the last three seasons. Houston cut or traded every veteran player, including point guard Kyle Lowry, backup Goran Dragic, shooting guard Courtney Lee and popular forward Luis Scola.
The Thunder, meanwhile, are one of the favorites to win the Western Conference after losing to Miami in last year's NBA Finals.
"This is definitely different," Harden said. "But it's something that we have to learn to deal with. This is a business and everything happens for a reason. I'm going to just to play hard, try to play hard and do whatever it takes to win."
Wednesday's deadline to extend Harden or allow him to become a restricted free agent next July had been hanging over the Thunder from the moment they reported to training camp.
The Thunder offered Harden $55.5 million over four years -- $4.5 million less than the max deal Harden coveted and will get from the Rockets, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.
"We wanted to sign James to an extension, but at the end of the day, these situations have to work for all those involved. Our ownership group again showed their commitment to the organization with several significant offers," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement Saturday.
"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."
Harden was a first-round pick by Oklahoma City out of Arizona State in 2009. He started only seven games in three seasons, but he became an indispensable reserve. Last year, he averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the regular season.
"I like the way he plays," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "He's got a pace to his game that I like, I think he plays at a speed where he can repeat things over and over again. He's not playing at a warp speed. He really takes his time, and goes when he wants to go, starts, stops. He's a really sophisticated player."
Harden struggled in the NBA Finals, shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from 3-point range. He scored 19 points with five assists in Game 5, a 121-106 Miami victory that clinched the championship.
He'll also have to adjust to a starting role in Houston, joining Jeremy Lin in the backcourt.
"It's going to take some time," Harden said. "Obviously, not starting and not having as much attention on me, but it's going to take some time. I think I'm ready for it."
Lin is happy to have him aboard.
"He's always been an efficient, easy player to play with," Lin said. "The way he plays, the style he plays is very in tune with what we're trying to do."
McHale thinks Harden can make a seamless switch to a starting role.
"I don't think he'll need any adjusting," McHale said. "I don't think that'll be an issue at all. He's just going to get an opportunity to get more time and start the game."
Harden and his new teammates arrived at the Toyota Center in a limousine just moments after Martin drove away.
Martin has averaged 18.4 points and 2.1 assists in eight NBA seasons, most of them with Sacramento. He played 2½ seasons in Houston and averaged 23.5 points in 2010-11 under coach Rick Adelman. The Rockets and Adelman parted ways after that season, and Martin's numbers dipped in Kevin McHale's first season.
He was in the final year of his contract and is due to make about $13 million this season.
The 6-foot-2 Lamb was the 12th overall pick in the draft. Lamb helped Connecticut win the 2011 Final Four and led the Rockets' summer-league team in scoring, averaging 20 points.
"While I never like having to send out quality players like Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, this trade gives us a chance to make an immediate impact on the future of our franchise moving forward," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said.
Lin said he was "pretty excited" about the deal, although he said it doesn't change the team's expectations.
"The way we're looking at it is we want to make the playoffs, whether the trade happened or not," he said. "We're still looking at the same exact focus, the same exact goal."
If nothing else, the arrival of Harden will deflect some of the attention away from Lin, on the court and off it.
"We'll see how everything plays out," Lin said. "It'll be dispersed a little more."
lakerswiz wrote:80% from outside the perimeter!
Martin shoots about 41% of his shots from outside the perimeter. Harden is at 47% outside the perimeter.
lakerswiz wrote:Martin shoots about 41% of his shots from outside the perimeter. Harden is at 47% outside the perimeter.
Except that Harden is excellent at getting to the rim and at creating contact. And in fact Martin shoots pretty poorly outside of one specific range: 16 feet to the 3 point line. His mid-range game from 3-15 feet is better, but that could also be due to small sample size.lakerswiz wrote:Martin's mid range game is exponentially better than Harden's too. I'm talking head & shoulder above Harden's mid range game. Meaning when the help slides over and Harden can't get to the basket, he's stuck while Martin has a propensity to pull up.
lakerswiz wrote:Harden is shooting a layup or he's shooting a 3 pointer. He averages 1 shot a game from 3-15 feet and only 2 game when you include shots from 16-23 feet. Harden shoots almost as many shots from 3 point land in each game than he does every other location on the floor combined.
lakerswiz wrote:And then you factor in that Martin was continually given the attention of the opposing team and Harden was playing against the second unit and / or had KD and Westbrook on the floor. Switch those roles and watch how much K-Mart can flourish.
lakerswiz wrote:Then you can look at the percent of shots assisted and unassisted. They're both within a few percentage points of each other meaning that they're both creating their own shot half the time they shoot the ball. Harden likes taking the extra dribble to the basket and Kevin Martin likes to pull up in the mid range.
Gotta love James Harden, so Lakers fans gotta love him leaving the Thunder. Kevin Martin is one of the worst perimeter defenders in the league. OKC has Thabo Sefolosha, one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, but if Scott Brooks wants Martin's offense on the floor at crunchtime against the Lakers, Kevin Durant probably will have to guard Kobe. Not that Durant isn't capable of doing that at this point in his career, but can Martin even hold Metta World Peace off the board? Or would the Lakers be reluctant to run plays to post Metta against the Martin anyway? Bottom line is that Harden's trade to Houston is a business decision that weakens the Thunder in the basketball sense. The Thunder is less the special team community and more the classic basketball one-two punch with Durant and Russell Westbrook and role players. 8 minutes ago
The Harden Disaster
Not only did Oklahoma City destroy something beautiful, they just handed the Western Conference to the Lakers
By Bill Simmons on October 30, 2012
See that photo above? I snapped it during the 2012 Finals, right as Game 5 was winding down in Miami. Here's how I described the moment in my column the following morning.
"Brooks pulled Harden a few seconds later. He wandered over to the corner to stand with Westbrook, with Durant eventually joining them. They stood there with their arms wrapped around each other, watching their season tick away, soaking in every image for those days in July and August when you're tired of shooting jumpers in an empty gym and need a trigger to keep pushing yourself. It was my favorite moment of the series … When I think of Game 5, I will remember LeBron's brilliance first, then Mike Miller having that crazy sports-movie montage of 3s ... And then I'll think of the Oklahoma City kids huddled in the corner at the end, waiting their turn, knowing that's how the NBA works. We'll see if LeBron ever lets them on the ride."
Never — not in my wildest dreams — did I imagine Oklahoma City breaking them up. It started to seem possible about a month ago (improbable, but definitely not unrealistic), and when their partnership finally unraveled last weekend, for whatever reason, I ended up sifting through 1,200 pictures on my iPhone before finally finding that photo. I couldn't stop thinking about it. You always hear that sports is a business, something that certainly seemed true during last year's indefensible lockout. But I loved the thought of those three Oklahoma City kids — how they carried themselves as brothers, how they complemented each other on the court, how they kept nailing those same road-to-the-title checkpoints that Jordan's Bulls and Isiah's Pistons crossed off once upon a time. The 2012 Finals swung on a surprisingly small number of plays during the first four games — maybe seven or eight total. Oklahoma City didn't make enough of them. Their three best guys were going to learn from what happened. They were.
And when everyone started playing the blame game after the trade — Harden shouldn't have been so greedy, Oklahoma City should have played it out for one more year, the trade never would have happened if Harden played better in the Finals, Sam Presti didn't get enough back, etc., etc., etc. — I kept thinking about those three guys with their arms around each other. Do you really want to break THAT up? Weren't these guys headed somewhere together? Wasn't that series, and that photo, part of the journey? Wasn't this like canceling a great TV series after one and a half seasons, like if Homeland just stopped right now and we never found out what happened to Brody and Carrie?
Forget about worrying whether Harden is a max player (and by the way, he is — 15 teams would have given it to him), or why Harden didn't play better in the 2012 Finals (um, James Worthy sucked in the 1984 Finals and turned out fine), or if it meant something that Harden didn't just blindly take less than what he's worth (when he had already sacrificed minutes, numbers, and shots to succeed on that team). Oklahoma City significantly hindered their chances of winning a title — not just this year, but every year. And they did it because, after raking in ridiculous amounts of money these past four years (including $30-35 million PROFIT during last year's shortened season), they valued their own bottom line ahead of their title window. A window that included the second-best player in the league, a top-10 player and a top-20 player … all under the age of 25.
That's why every Lakers fan spent the weekend rejoicing and making 2013 Finals plans. This was the one team that scared the living [Swearing is not permitted at Clublakers. You must edit this post prior to submitting.] out of them — these past two seasons, Oklahoma City was too young, too fast, too relentless, too everything. Even after the Lakers added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, it's worth noting that (a) Nash can't defend Westbrook unless he's allowed to use a two-by-four, and (b) Kendrick Perkins is overpaid mainly because he's been Howard's Kryptonite these past few seasons, someone with the bizarre ability to frustrate and even neutralize Howard beyond any realm of common sense. After the Thunder traded Harden, every Lakers fan I know e-mailed me. They were overjoyed.
Thank God they traded Harden. He scared the hell out of me. We couldn't stop him from getting to the rim. We can beat them now.
Anytime a trade inspires celebrations from your biggest rival, that's never a good thing … right? That's why I thought Oklahoma City should have rolled the Harden dilemma over to the following summer, waited for someone else's four-year, $60 million restricted offer, matched it, then either traded Serge Ibaka (getting paid like an All-Star when he's not there yet) or amnestied the overpriced Perkins (who simply can't stay healthy). I absolutely loved their top three, especially in this day and age, with low-post scorers going the way of DVDs and bookstores. Durant has already established himself as one of the league's greatest scorers — not just now, but ever — someone who reaches 30 points night after night more creatively than anyone since George Gervin. And Westbrook wreaks havoc athletically, making up for his infamous streakiness with some of the most breathtaking two-way play we've ever seen.
Paired together, you definitely have a contender … but that doesn't mean you're winning a title. Just ask Stockton and Malone, Payton and Kemp, Barkley and K.J., or even West and Baylor way back when. That's why Harden was so important. Within three seasons, the Beard had evolved into a shockingly efficient scorer and a security blanket of sorts — every time Westbrook went into one of his little funks, there was Harden calmly grabbing the steering wheel, running their offense and even occasionally taking over when it mattered. He eviscerated Dallas and the Lakers in consecutive playoff series by repeatedly getting to the rim; all of our advanced data says Harden ranks among the very best at scoring off screens. So Oklahoma City had three elite scorers, with no drop-off throughout the four quarters because of Harden's willingness to come off the bench. That was their single biggest asset.
Quick tangent: Before expansion diluted the league in the 1990s, many of the NBA's greatest teams were built around two signature stars, then a third (and more underrated) high-caliber player who sacrificed numbers while maintaining a memorable level of clutchness. Everyone points to Manu Ginobili as a recent example, but every classic 1980s juggernaut featured that guy, whether it was James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes, Dennis Johnson, Joe Dumars or Andrew Toney. Going back to Bill Russell's era, the all-time best example was Sam Jones (as I wrote about three weeks ago). Had Harden moved into the aforementioned group while being paid accordingly, he would have embraced it — he's one of the rare modern athletes who doesn't care about being The Man, even writing Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti before the 2009 draft and explaining how well he'd blend with Westbrook and Durant.
But sacrificing minutes, shots and numbers for the betterment of the team AND taking a discount? That's a little ludicrous. This wasn't about $7 million — the difference between Oklahoma City's final offer and the $60 million max offer that Harden's agent requested — as much as Presti respecting Harden's unique plight. The Thunder couldn't offer a five-year extension because Durant and Westbrook had already grabbed their two special five-year slots (as mandated by the new CBA). Meanwhile, half the league's teams would have happily given him a five-year max extension ($78 million), so really, Harden was already taking a discount by not getting a five-year deal.
Also, Harden's offer never included a hard-core assurance that Oklahoma City wouldn't use that "discount" against him by eventually trading that enhanced asset (a franchise player now making less than franchise money) for a collection of goodies. Remember when Boston talked Rajon Rondo into accepting a five-year, $55 million "discount" — $16 million less than he would have gotten on the open market the following summer — then dangled him for Chris Paul two years later? So much for "taking one for the team," right? What about Steve Nash signing a two-year, $22 million "discount" extension because Phoenix promised to use that extra cap space to boost a 2010 Western Conference finalist? Remember what happened? They allowed Amar'e Stoudemire to leave, brought in a bunch of Hakim Warricks and Josh Childresses and immediately became a lottery team. But thanks for taking the discount, Steve.
So here's Oklahoma City offering Harden $53 million for four years and refusing to include a trade kicker — in other words, Sorry, we have to keep our options open, just in case. Harden's agent justifiably turned them down. The team played hardball. Harden's agent stood his ground. They threatened to trade him to Houston — which was, in retrospect, their biggest mistake because that meant Harden had a five-year, $78 million offer with no state income tax suddenly waiting for him — and at that point, this was done.
And here's where the narrative became a little funky. See, we're supposed to feel sorry for Oklahoma City, the tiny small-market team that couldn't afford to keep its three best players. We're supposed to ignore their staggering profits since they hijacked the Sonics from Seattle in 2008 (by my calculations, somewhere north of $75 million, at least). You know what the biggest advantage is for any professional baseball, basketball or hockey team? Selling out your building way ahead of time. When you lock up your season ticket base, luxury suites and sponsorships during the spring before your next regular season, that's 90 percent of the battle — now you have guaranteed income, you don't have to waste resources on a swollen sales staff or various marketing campaigns, and you can bank the interest from that money instead of crossing your fingers and hoping that revenue shows up later. Yeah, Oklahoma City is never getting the television money of the Lakers or Knicks, but so what? You really think their situation is THAT far off from teams like the Celtics or Sixers?
For Oklahoma City, the Harden trade wasn't about losing money … it was about continuing to make money. Huge, huge difference. The Thunder realized that, as long as two top-12 players (Durant and Westbrook) were under their control, they would keep contending, keep selling out and maintain a certain level of relevancy. And by rebooting with the assets from that Harden trade (Kevin Martin's offense as a one-year stopgap, Jeremy Lamb as a long-term replacement, Toronto's guaranteed lottery pick and the other picks as potential trade chips), they could brainwash their fans on the whole "this is a marathon, not a sprint" spiel.
Here's the problem with that mind-set: When you're this close to winning the title, why screw with it? Why own the franchise at that point? Look at what happened to Phoenix from 2005 through 2010, as the team wasted genuine assets (selling a lottery pick, selling the Rajon Rondo pick, trading two first-rounders to dump Kurt Thomas) and lowballed Joe Johnson out of town, squandering Nash's glorious prime in the process. Guess what? Everyone in Phoenix hates Robert Sarver for it. What Oklahoma City did wasn't as egregious, but in its own little way, it was just as dishonest — a team crying poverty even as it's selling out every night and even though it's been printing money these past few years.
And now, they've tossed away their 2013 title chances unless Durant jumps an entire level like LeBron did last spring (unlikely, since LeBron reached a level that we haven't seen in 20 years) or Ibaka miraculously matures into a game-changing two-way force (a puncher's chance of a possibility that Zach Lowe broke down on Grantland today). After that, who knows what could happen? Title windows have a tendency of slamming shut when you least expect it. Remember when we thought the '86 Celtics were rolling off four or five titles in a row once they added the no. 2 overall pick? Remember when Payton and Kemp played in the '96 Finals and we expected to see them every June? Remember when Kobe and Shaq were destined for an entire decade of titles? Remember when the '77 Blazers were the NBA's next dynasty? Remember when Sampson and Olajuwon seized control of the Western Conference from Magic's Lakers, and it seemed totally far-fetched that they were ever giving it back? You never know.
In the Thunder's case, we only knew that they had three of the 20 best guys in the league, all under 25, all of whom loved playing together. There are no sure things in the NBA, but that previous sentence was about as sure as it gets. Less than 100 hours ago, I thought the Thunder were headed for another Finals and another chance at toppling LeBron and Wade. That's not happening with Jeremy Lamb and Kevin Martin. Instead, they made a different kind of history: becoming the first NBA contender that ever jeopardized multiple titles for financial reasons and financial reasons only. It's never happened before.
They also walked away from the photo that adorns this column, as well as everything I ever thought sports was about. Other than that, the Harden trade wasn't that big of a deal. You want predictions for the 2012-13 season from me? I have two and two only.
1. Miami is going to beat the Lakers in the Finals.
2. Oklahoma City will rue the day it traded James Harden.
davriver290 wrote:I think OKC messed up in signing Ibaka first and with a hefty contract, Harden should've been the priority.
James Harden has agreed to a 5 year, $80 million deal with Houston, source tells Y!
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