The beard is moving one state to the south with last night's trade of James Harden from the Thunder to the Rockets.
Oklahoma City Thunder Get:
2 1st round picks (from Dallas and Toronto)
2nd round pick (from Charlotte)
Houston Rockets Get:
My immediate reaction to this deal is that it's a very fair trade.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey put together this motley crew of players in an effort to get Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol, but ultimately failed. He ended up with a ton of young role players, but no one at the core of the team other than Jeremy Lin. With this deal:
The Rockets finally get the star player that they were so desperately after, even though I'm not 100% certain that Harden is a star. The good thing is that he can thrive without having to deal with the greatest scorer alive and Russell Westbrook on his team. Harden will have to carry the load for the Rockets, especially on the offensive end. Now he can truly show what he is made of.
In addition, this means that the Rockets will not compete for the worst team in the league, because James Harden is well, good. They also pick up a good role player in Daequan Cook, who can camp out in the corner and shoot all day.
As for OKC, I have to applaud them for ridding themselves of the cloud hanging over them in James Harden and his contract. There most likely would have been a question about it just about every week. While giving up Harden, his swag, and his beard may seem devastating, the Thunder acquire Jeremy Lamb and Kevin Martin. Martin is simply a scorer. His play can be extremely frustrating at times, but that's only when he is given license to do anything he wishes; just like he could in Houston. He'll definitely be more controlled and reeled in with Scott Brooks ready to bench him if he repeatedly takes stupid shots. Jeremy Lamb seems to be a versatile offensive player in his own right but I didn't watch him too much in college, so I don't exactly have too much to say about him. Both Lamb and Martin are great values when their action is as limited as it will be now.
Don't forget about the draft picks, which I expect to be within the first half of the round.
This also means that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will have to step up and take over some of James Harden's role. Yes, Durant and Westbrook will be even better this year. That's another reason why the Thunder can still win the West and win an NBA Championship.
This is an example of a perfect trade.