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Rockets GM Morey says Harden trade is unprecedented

Oct 30, 2012, 1:55 AM EDT

Daryl Morey, James Harden AP

Daryl Morey is feeling pretty good about himself right now. After striking out going after Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol and just about every other big name who came on the market in the past couple years, he finally made contact.

He got James Harden in a trade that shocked the NBA and even shocked Morey, he admitted during a Tuesday press conference (transcribed on the Rockets Web site). Morey said he was surprised Harden was even being made available.

Shocked. I actually can’t come up with any examples of a player of his caliber and age getting traded at the time he was traded – it really has never happened. So we were obviously very aggressive and we gave up a lot – Oklahoma City does a great job; we gave up some great players in Kevin (Martin) and Jeremy (Lamb) and some great draft picks – but a top player like James really never gets traded so we jumped at the chance.

Morey said that in September Thunder GM Sam Presti called to gauge both interest and see what kind of deal might be out there, but added he probably called all 30 teams. Teams have those conversations all the time, they need to be prepared, but 99 times out of 100 nothing comes of it.

This time, because Harden and the Thunder couldn’t agree on a contract, it did.

I actually didn’t think they’d trade him. I think he’s a great, great player. I think he’s already playing at an All-Star level and is going to be a perennial All-Star and those players are rarely traded so I thought, frankly, it was going to work out there. I’m very happy for the Houston Rockets that he’s here.

Harden is a great piece for the rockets. Something they can start to build around (with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik). Morey should celebrate this. But he has a lot of work left to do.

  1. danielcp0303 - Oct 30, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    Love what the Rockets are doing, still a long ways to go. Too bad most fans in Texas can’t watch the Rockets because of the new tv network.

  2. chawbacon14 - Oct 30, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Its unprecedented for two reasons.

    1. The new CBA

    2. The drafting and development prowess of Sam Presti

    Under this new CBA, there’s very few large markets who could pay the level of tax the Thunder were looking at. No one but the Lakers and Celtics can have three max and one near max player.

    And its not just a matter of paying tax, there are also other penalties for being a repeat offender, i.e. can’t sign mid level exception and can do on sign and trades.

    • zerole00 - Oct 30, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Even the Lakers will shy away from the new escalating luxury tax. The numbers are pretty staggering.

  3. digitalpoo - Oct 30, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    I hope he gets braces now that he’s rolling in the dough.

    • phaden27 - Oct 30, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      Or, you know, a lifetime supply of razors.

  4. echech88 - Oct 30, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    I like Harden but I remember when everyone thought signing Trevor Ariza was a huge steal for the Rockets and a crippling blow to the Lakers (they won the title again the next year and Ariza was outed as seriously overpaid)

    Harden is obviously better than Ariza but you never know how players will respond being away from elite teammates in new situations. Harden was an elite player off the bench abusing second units and taking advantage of stretched defenses when he was with the first unit…not going to have that luxury in HOU.

    • zeedoubleyou - Oct 30, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      These are all very fair points, but Harden was the youngest member of the Olympic team. I know this gets said/written a lot, but that’s because it absolutely means something.

      He is currently a top 25 guy with top 10 upside if he ever commits to working on his D to become a complete player.

      As a fan of a rival contender, I couldn’t be happier that OKC made this deal.

      • kvvvv2391 - Oct 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM

        Except that he wasn’t! Anthony Davis is 19. Much younger than Harden.

      • chawbacon14 - Oct 30, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        Does it really mean something ?

        If DWade or Howard or Chris Bosh, or any other number of players had agreed to play for Team USA, then Harden does not get a snif.

        And his Olympic performance was not good, his three pt shot has not been on since the WCF’s . And that was from the international three point line.

        If Harden had been the starting 2 guard for Sac Town, he would not have gotten a snif of the Olympics, he got on the team because he was in the NBA Finals.

        There is a lot of hyperbole surrounding James Harden.

      • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        I agree with chawbacon14. If Harden is a top 25 guy he is probably #25. He wouldn’t be the #1 or #2 and in some cases he would be the #4 or #5 on contending teams. It is saying something that he was the youngest guy on Team USA but if anything it looked like he was out of place on that team. He definitely shouldn’t have made it based on his defense and so many other guys would have made it before him if they were healthy(namely D-Wade and D-Rose). He has a long way to go to be top 10 in the NBA.

  5. calmdownandthink - Oct 30, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    A short list of unprecedented trades for you, Morey—

    1) Lebron. Yup, he was actually traded for a couple 1st and a couple 2nd round picks.
    2) Garnett
    3) Chamberlain
    4) Kareem
    These bums were all in their prime and all won titles, something Harden has yet to do.

  6. getsome99 - Oct 30, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Harden is overrated.

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