The Rockets kept making offers to teams over the summer for star players, but no one bit….that is…until last night. The Rockets have acquired 23-year old shooting guard James Harden, 23-year old center Cole Aldrich, 25-year old SG/SF Daequan Cook and 25-year old small forward Lazar Hayward from the Thunder. In return, the Rockets are sending 29-year old shooting guard Kevin Martin, rookie 20-year old shooting guard Jeremy Lamb, a first round pick in 2013 from both the Mavericks and Raptors and a 2nd round pick of Bobcats in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The Rockets are likely going to try to sign James Harden to a max contract extension and make him their starting shooting guard from Day #1. He will team with Jeremy Lin to give the Rockets a pretty good looking starting guard tandem. Harden played in 62 games (2 starts) for the Thunder last year and he averaged 31.4 minutes, 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steal per game. Harden has now played in 220 games (7 starts) in his first three years in the NBA and he is averaging 26.7 minutes, 12.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. His scoring average has gone up three years in a row now and he was voted the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2011-12. Cole Aldrich was a first round pick just three years ago, so he might have some untapped talent. Aldrich played in 26 games (0 starts) for the Thunder last year and he averaged 6.7 minutes, 2.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.1 assists per game. Aldrich has now played in 44 games (0 starts) in his first two years in the NBA and he is averaging 7.2 minutes, 1.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.2 assists per game. Daequan Cook is a gunner off the bench. He played in 57 games (22 starts) for the Thunder last year and he averaged 17.4 minutes, 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game. He has now played in 279 games (48 starts) in his first five years in the NBA and he is averaging 19.9 minutes, 7.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game. Lazar Hayward played in 26 games (0 starts) for the Thunder last year and he averaged 5.4 minutes, 1.4 points, 0.6 rebounds and 0.2 assists per game. He has now played in 68 games (0 starts) in his first two years in the NBA and he is averaging 8.2 minutes, 2.9 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. Hayward is only shooting 35.4% from the floor so far in his career. Aldrich, Cook and Hayward could help the Rockets off the bench….if they all make the team.
Kevin Martin has been in head coach Kevin McHale’s Dog House for a while, so he probably welcomes this deal. He will likely have Harden’s role in Oklahoma City as an assassin off the bench. Martin played in 40 games (all starts) for the Rockets last year and he averaged 31.6 minutes, 17.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. He played in 144 games (142 starts) in his three years with the Rockets and he averaged 32.8 minutes, 21.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Jeremy Lamb was one of the Rockets’ first round picks in last June’s NBA Draft and he has a big upside. The Rockets also gave up three valuable draft picks that they had in their kitty. The Rockets really need for James Harden to be a star to make this trade look good for them as they gave up a lot to get him.
UPDATE: (10/29/2012) - The Rockets have waived Lazar Hayward.