Published October 28, 2012
| Sports Network
Oklahoma City, OK – The Oklahoma City Thunder traded guard James Harden to the Houston Rockets in exchange for guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb on Saturday.
The Thunder will also receive a pair of first-round draft picks and one second-rounder in the deal, and will send guard Daequan Cook, forward Lazar Hayward and center Cole Aldrich to the Rockets.
Harden, the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, reportedly rejected a contract extension offer from the Thunder earlier this week. The deal would have paid the Arizona State product as much as $54 million over four years, according to league sources.
"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 press release. "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."
Oklahoma City selected Harden with the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, where he combined with All-Star guard Russell Westbrook and three-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant for one of the NBA's best trios of young talent.
Harden averaged career-highs in both points (16.8 per game) and assists (3.7 per game) in 2011-12 to help the Thunder capture the Western Conference championship. Over 220 career games, the four-year veteran has posted averages of 12.7 points and 2.5 assists.
Martin, who enters his ninth season in the NBA, averaged 17.1 points per game in 2011-12. Over 475 career games, he has averaged 18.4 points with 37.7 percent efficiency from behind the 3-point line.
Martin spent the first 5 1/2 seasons of his career with the Sacramento Kings before he was dealt to the Houston Rockets in 2009-10.
Lamb was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and was the second-leading scorer on Connecticut's 2011 NCAA Championship team.
Over five seasons in the NBA, Cook has posted averages of 7.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
Aldrich, a third-year pro, has averaged just 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds over 44 career games. Hayward has recorded averages of 2.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 68 games over two seasons.