Blogtable: Harden Trade Aftermath

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Blogtable Week 1: Harden Trade | Under-the-radar stories | Lakers’ outlook

What do you expect out of James Harden in Houston this year? And how much will the trade affect the Thunder?

Steve Aschburner: I acknowledge Harden’s talent, especially his ability to get to the foul line, and expect that he’ll do well as the Rockets’ No. 1 option. But he’ll have to do it against serious game-planning by opponents — there’s no Durant or Westbrook to draw most of the defensive attention. So be careful what you wish for, James. As for OKC, I think they made a great save with what they got in trade, but tinkering with a winning formula — for whatever reason — is risky. Short term, they could regret GM Sam Presti‘s pro-activity.

Fran Blinebury: Harden will put up a lot of points as top gun on a bad team. It remains to be seen how effective he can be in late game situations without playing off Durant and Westbrook. Kevin Martin will replace his scoring and late FTs in OKC, but they’ll miss Harden at the point.

Jeff Caplan: Harden will be a scoring machine in Houston. Just look at the roster. He has to be. He will take loads of pressure off of Jeremy Lin and with the media no longer obsessed with Linsanity, Harden will give Houston something it wouldn’t have had otherwise — relevance. Everyone will be interested to see how Lin and The Beard mesh and more so how Harden performs as a starter for the first time in his career — and on a team that doesn’t feature two dominant scorers. As for the Thunder, chemistry — these guys really liked each other — and fourth-quarter execution will stand out. Martin will go bonkers with the open looks he’ll get, but Harden was a beast with the ball in his hands during crunch time and the Thunder will have to make adjustments.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Harden will do well. He will move from complementary offensive weapon to Durant and Westbrook into a centerpiece role and thrive while paying for the opportunity in losses. The team he leaves behind, the Thunder, will obviously be impacted. They traded their third-best player for Martin. That is definitely a step back for a team trying to win a championship.

Sekou Smith: Harden will get his chance to headline alongside Lin, and that should be good for some excitement here and there. But they don’t look like a playoff team to me. And the Thunder will survive his departure with a re-stocked bench and a scorer (Martin) more than capable of filling Harden’s spot in the scoring column.


  1. Dixie Eli - TN says:

    if it aint broke dont fix it
    this guy right here tried fixin it, looks like houston’s up OKC’s down, foolish move

  2. DP says:

    against miami in the playoffs
    harden could not defend labron, wade, or chambers. defense wins.
    he will have to improve there. he looked lost.
    he is still young but needs to improve defense or he will be like steve nash.

  3. AV says:

    Take a look at what Harden can do during SUMMER League games–He can Drop 30 on any given Night–He deserved to be a starter!!

  4. Vouno says:

    I ‘m a Houston fun and I am trully impressed on how Harden has emerged into a Rockets supesrtar from game 1 and, most importantly, has changed the momentum of this franchise or will soon do with Asik and Lin.
    I wasn’t up for this trade at first losing Martin and Lamb and of course Detroit seemed like a yet poor team, but West here we come!
    Remember that in a couple of months Daryl Morey will bring a veteran, too.

  5. KingKong says:

    Houston will win some games, but that’s about it they need more help.

  6. Wayne says:

    I think OKC made a big mistake trading harden but i cant say that I blame them because theres no way they was going to pay him 80 mil, that would have been more than durant and westbrook gets. With that said, before the trade I had them coming out the west but now that harden is gone, I think the lakers is the top team in the west once they gel. Rockets will get to the playoffs with harden and lin with an 8th seed but get put out in first round

  7. makarov says:

    Harden wants a team to showcase his talents and he finds Houston as the right team to do it. I think he was tired of being a 6th man in OKC, that he knows to himself that he could do better. I agree that it would take time to fit in the new team and the new role to that team which is the go to guy or the star player but it would not take long, he’s a smart player and his ability to go to the foul line is exceptional. His ability is too far from KMart, hes too good but I dont think involving Jeremy Lamb in the trade wasnt a good decision + some 1st round pick, that rookie has the ability to be a star in the league and thats what make this trade even on each team.

  8. Chris says:

    Prestie had to let Harden go, Harden was going to chase the 80 million – 5 year contract no matter what. The Thunder got 3 great years out of Harden, and Harden got a great reputation and was able to demand max money. It was win win for both parties. I dont blame Harden for leaving and wish him the best, however, now Harden must prove he is worth the price paid for him. I live in Oklahoma so I have seen almost every game he has played in the NBA. He has started games before, when Thabo was out, and it DID NOT work out at all. Houston fans, DONT expect to see what you saw from him off the bench in OKC, Off the bench is the only role he is comfortable with because coach Brooks sticks to his rotations, that is almost all he has done for 3 years. Harden is skilled and smart but it will take some time for him to be able to play to his potential in a starting role. I hate to say it, but you all just paid 80 million for basically a rookie. You dont know if he ever will be able to produce what you paid for. My guess is he will, …in about 2 years. As for the Thunder, you gotta do what you gotta do. There was no way he was going to stay, I think Prestie got the best possible deal he could. Say what you will, but he learned from the Magic and Cavaliers mistake of trying to hold a player that is determined to leave. I hated to see Cook go to make the trade. Aldridge has potential but wasn’t coming along fast enough to keep, but we got two great players that will easily make up for what we lost with Harden.

  9. Jon M says:

    Harden will miss the comfort of being the third choice of defenders. Lamb and draft picks make the Thunder better.

  10. what dumb writers says:

    so mr. auschburner, what did you say other than repeating what everybody knows?

    • Rockets Seeing Red says:

      I can’t believe not 1 person on has mentioned Martin’s flopping and the new rules.. Or Lowry, Scola, etc… Personally I dont think the Rockets need the trouble of flopping and its the 1 main thing I will not miss

  11. Realist2012 says:

    The Rockets were shaking things up, they’ve been a decent team with no Mr. 4th Quarter. They lost a lot of games over the years due to having no real go to guy. Kevin Martin didn’t really play like that guy, a scorer yes, but a put the team on his back and carry them no. I’m a Rockets fan and I like the moves they’ve made short of giving up a few players i liked in the uniform. I think they are gearing up for the coming years and they have the money to sign big names. Having Harden and Lin could be enticing to a star in the up coming off seasons. I veto Mr. Fran Blinebury’s comment that the rockets have been a bad team. they were always above .500 and kept just missing the playoffs for the above reasons. Harden can be that finisher they need.

    • Rockets Seeing Red says:

      Well said, I hated the moves at first myself but now I see they were not going to “Astro” our Rockets…. As for my comment about Parsons earlier being untouchable by the Rockets, I may have liked Lowry n others a lot but to me he was the last player I would want to see go. Good moves by the Rockets…. Beard Me!!!

  12. Rockets Seeing Red says:

    One thing everybody seems to forget is that the NBA has new rules and K Mart is a notorious flopper. Most of the time he would get to the line was by flop and I even saw him do the same thing in preseason

  13. amitpal says:

    In th I’m not a laker fan but I’m always suprised at how little people know about basketball. Ur a miami fan and u should know about this better than anyone. The lakers haven’t even had a full preseason. When the heat first got together they had a full preaseason and still lost to the celtics pretty handly on there first game. It takes time for chemistry to gell together. Those of u who actually thought the lakers were going to easily win must have been joking urself.

  14. Shado says:

    +20 for sure

  15. kingofaces2895 says:

    They have a point guard and a shooting guard… now they need… everything else.

    • Joe B. says:

      So true kingofaces

      • Rockets Seeing Red says:

        We also got Pasons who is a rookie starter and one of the only people the Rockets had deemed untouchable. Asik is turning to a force in the paint and Patterson has shown he can be a very good PF. Keep underestimating the Rockets though that is good for Houston.

  16. bestnbaforum says:

    Harden is overrated! But thunder are now behind Lakers!

    • Josh says:

      If he’s overrated then the Thunder wouldn’t be affected by the trade. That’s kind of what that word means.

      And funny you should bring up the Lakers… since they have nothing to do with this conversation.

  17. The outcome says:

    The thunder made a good move, Yeah they gave away Harden but they also gained Kevin Martin who is one of the best shooters in the game, and jeremy Lamb. Harden will make a the Rockets a better team but not a playoff team.

  18. rok says:

    Wow harden to Rockets? This is really funny what money do with mind…

  19. Den says:

    Harden’s ability on drawing fouls ON THE DRIVE is amazing, one of the best in the league without a doubt, but if you look closely, he is very limited on creating his own quality pull-up shots. Been a fan of the Thunders and watching Harden grow through the past 3 years, most of his points came from drives, 3 pointers and foul shots. Very rarely did the points came from self-created mid range pull ups. Even if he managed to shoot one, it was usually under desperation forced by the shot clock or D’ed up by the defender, resulting in misses. I feel that quality self-created pull-up shots is a MUST for top scores. MJ, Kobe, Wade, Lebron, Durant, Iverson, Mcgrady…etc you name any top scorers in NBA now and then. They all have the ability to “self-create quality pull-up shots” and make the basket.

    let me know if you think otherwise

  20. topshelf says:

    houston gave up too much

  21. Mathew says:

    Hardens shots were limited and that’s why I think he wanted to be traded. Unfortunately Harden was not meant to be a six man and he was not meant to be a “10 shots per game” type of guy. Harden needs 16+ shots per game with how efficient he played. The guy almost avg’d 17 points per game off of just 10 shots shooting at 49%.

  22. Ted says:

    I don’t know why Jeremy Lamb wasn’t even mentioned in this conversation! He is OKC’s trump card not Kevin Martin! His days in Sac Town are far behind. Kevin Martin would make little impact now. Jeremy Lamb is the deal. He has the potential to be like James Harden.

    • slider821 says:

      It seems blog writers have only a 1 year memory span. They talk about missing Harden’s playmaking ability at point. The only reason Harden was playing point was due to Maynor’s injury the year prior. Maynor is a better pure point and with Martin being a better pure shooter, I can’t see how Harden’s departure will hurt their scoring. Appears they just got better.

      All this without mentioning Lamb’s potential and that Toronto first round pick.

  23. J says:

    Rockets are not that bad the last 3 years they have been above 500 team that has always just missed the playoffs like 20 or 3 games off cause the West is just that good but bringing Harden is what the Rockets have been looking for since the Yao and Tracy McGrady days now this doesnt make them a playoff team but this is the first piece of the puzzle

  24. Mike says:

    People never give Houston any respect

  25. Just-a-thought says:

    I really hope all you guys up there who completely disregard the Rockets will be standing here again, come playoff time, and will have to admit you were shockingly wrong. I am not saying you *are* wrong, but I believe there’s a pretty reasonable chance you will owe the Rockets ‘kids’ a tip of the hat, and an apology in a few months from now.

  26. romitru23 says:

    harden will be in beast mode with the rockets hes a 20 plus points per game scorer on anyother team than the thunder lakers or heat!! hes a superstar in the making lin if not hurt and harden on the wing mesh rockets could suprise alot of people!! its a lil out there but they could end up 6th in the west this year if things go accordingly

  27. Lenin Rojas says:

    Of course Harden is a very good piece for the Rockets. He will fill the departure of Kevin Martin and better Rockets’ team. I think The Rockets should get to the playoff this year and Harden will be in the top ten NBA scores if he performs as he did with the thunder and maybe he could be in the All-Star game as a reserve. Kevin Martin is a score machine, but the thunder will have to make some adjustments to get the team ready as the one they had with James Harden.

  28. eric says:

    the rockets are a young and talented team, now with size and a complete player. the only drawback from this trade is how good Jeremy lamb will be and what kind of pick they’ll get out of Toronto. Last year they missed the playoffs with a far less talented group by two games! I’m on the bandwagon, three Texas teams make the playoffs in the west.