Well, that escalated quickly.
Unable to come to an agreement on an extension, the Oklahoma City Thunder have traded the reigning Sixth-Man of the Year to the Houston Rockets. For full details on the trade, click here. Harden will likely sign an extension with Houston before Wednesday’s deadline.
Believe it or not, this move does affect the Hawks.
If Harden remained in OKC without an extension, he would have become a restricted free agent after the season. Without the extension, it would be unlikely that the Thunder would match an offer for Harden. (which is obvious, otherwise they just would have given him the extension) With the amount of cap space that the Hawks will have, it is without a doubt that the team would have pursued Harden, even if he wasn’t one of the team’s initial targets. (which are still Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Josh Smith)
I’ve got to hand it to Thunder GM Sam Presti, though; he does not mess around when it comes to his team. While Harden may be a great player, the contract that he is seeking would have completely restricted that franchise from making any moves in the future. They are still title contenders and can add more pieces pieces in the next couple of years, but they will surely miss Harden for his play-making abilities.