Rockets Land Reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year
HOUSTON – Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has acquired Olympic gold medalist and the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, guard James Harden as part of a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets will also receive center Cole Aldrich, guard Daequan Cook and forward Lazar Hayward from the Thunder in exchange for guards Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and three future draft selections.
“We are very excited with tonight’s trade," said Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander. “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. James Harden was part of Team USA’s gold medal team at the London Olympics and is one of the most skilled shooting guards in the NBA. James, along with the mix of young players we already have in place such as Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik give us a very solid group of young, talented players who will form the core of our team.”
Harden (6-5, 225, Arizona State) has averaged 12.7 points, 2.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 220 regular season games (seven starts) with Oklahoma City. Additionally, he’s averaged 16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 20 playoff games. Selected by the Thunder with the third overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, Harden played in 76 games (no starts) as a rookie and averaged 9.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game on his way to earning NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors. In 2010-11 he played in all 82 games (five starts) and improved his scoring average to 12.2 points while posting 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest. Harden enjoyed a breakout season in 2011-12, establishing career high averages for points (16.8), rebounds (4.1), assists (3.7), shooting percentage (.491), 3PT% (.390) and FT% (.846) while playing in a career-most 31.4 minutes per game. On April 18, 2012, Harden poured in a career-best 40 points in a 109-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns. After leading all NBA reserves in scoring average in 2012, Harden became the youngest recipient of the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.
Aldrich (6-11, 245, Kansas) has averaged 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 44 regular season games (no starts) with the Thunder. After forgoing his senior year at Kansas, Aldrich was selected with the 10th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets, who then traded his rights to the Thunder on draft night. Aldrich still owns the Jayhawks school record for blocks in a season (125) as a junior and ranks second on the school’s career blocked shots list (253). Aldrich, who finished his collegiate career in 2009-10 as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, also participated as a freshman in Kansas’ national title run in 2007-08.
Cook (6-5, 210, Ohio State) has averaged 7.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 279 (48 starts) career games. The former Ohio State Buckeye is entering his sixth NBA season after being selected 21st overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2007 NBA Draft. After a post-draft night trade to the Miami Heat, Cook spent the first three seasons of his career with the Heat before being traded to the Thunder on 6/23/10. In his first season with the Thunder during the 2010-11 season, Cook posted career-bests in FG% (.436) and 3PT% (.422). In his final season with Oklahoma City, he averaged 5.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 57 games (22 starts).
Hayward (6-6, 225, Marquette) has averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 68 games (no starts) since being selected by the Washington Wizards with the 30th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. After having his draft rights traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Hayward played in 42 games (no starts) for the Timberwolves, averaging 3.8 points and 1.7 rebounds during the 2010-11 season. Prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, Hayward was traded to Oklahoma City where he saw action in 26 games (no starts) and averaged 1.4 points per game. He finished his Marquette career as the program’s second all-time leading scorer and the 5th all-time rebounder.
Martin (6-7, 185, Western Carolina) finishes his Rockets career having averaged 21.3 points, 2.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 144 games (142 starts). His career numbers include averages of 18.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.94 steals over 475 games (387 starts) with the Sacramento Kings and Rockets.
Lamb (6-5, 180, Connecticut) was drafted by the Rockets with the 12th overall selection in this summer’s NBA Draft. Lamb led Houston’s NBA Summer League team in scoring, averaging 20.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.00 steals in five games (four starts). He was just the sixth sophomore in UConn history to score 1,000 career points (1,060).