Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who first reported news of the James Harden trade last night, reveals that Rockets GM Daryl Morey initiated talks, and has been calling Thunder GM Sam Presti for months to check on Harden's availability. The trade disappointed some members of the Thunder, but didn't devastate them, and Russell Westbrook, in particular, is high on what Oklahoma City got in return. Many in the organization believed Harden, whose sulking about a lack of shots following the Thunder's Game 1 victory in the Finals this June drew rebuke from Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher, wouldn't have performed well under the pressure of having to play for a fat contract next summer. As the impact of the trade sinks in around the league, here's what people are saying.
- Presti didn't want to deviate from a precedent of having players sacrifice at the negotiating table for the betterment of the team, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.
- Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News believes the Thunder might not be done dealing, since Martin's $12.44MM expiring contract would be an attractive trade deadline asset, a sentiment echoed by HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler (Twitter links).
- John Hollinger of ESPN.com thinks the Thunder did the best they could under trying circumstances, while the Rockets, who could afford to sign another player to a maximum-salary deal next summer, have vastly strengthened their position as a destination for marquee free agents (Insider only).
- Royce Young of DailyThunder.com says the deal was unnecessary for the Thunder and reveals the "ugly, nasty and deceitful" side of pro sports. For CBSSports.com, Young looks at the deal's winners and losers.
- Matt Moore of CBSSports.com gives the Thunder a grade of D for messing with a team that could have won the title this year, and the Rockets a B for acquiring a star, even if there are questions about whether he can be a No. 1 option. Moore also examines how Harden will fit on the court in Houston.
- Presti wound up being punished for drafting too well, Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News opines.
- The deal was simply all about money for the Thunder, observes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun took the Thunder to task via Twitter for a "horrible" trade, while criticizing Harden for valuing money over championships (All Twitter links).