Daryl Morey is feeling pretty good about himself right now. After striking out going after Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol and just about every other big name who came on the market in the past couple years, he finally made contact.
He got James Harden in a trade that shocked the NBA and even shocked Morey, he admitted during a Tuesday press conference (transcribed on the Rockets Web site). Morey said he was surprised Harden was even being made available.
Shocked. I actually can’t come up with any examples of a player of his caliber and age getting traded at the time he was traded – it really has never happened. So we were obviously very aggressive and we gave up a lot – Oklahoma City does a great job; we gave up some great players in Kevin (Martin) and Jeremy (Lamb) and some great draft picks – but a top player like James really never gets traded so we jumped at the chance.
Morey said that in September Thunder GM Sam Presti called to gauge both interest and see what kind of deal might be out there, but added he probably called all 30 teams. Teams have those conversations all the time, they need to be prepared, but 99 times out of 100 nothing comes of it.
This time, because Harden and the Thunder couldn’t agree on a contract, it did.
I actually didn’t think they’d trade him. I think he’s a great, great player. I think he’s already playing at an All-Star level and is going to be a perennial All-Star and those players are rarely traded so I thought, frankly, it was going to work out there. I’m very happy for the Houston Rockets that he’s here.
Harden is a great piece for the rockets. Something they can start to build around (with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik). Morey should celebrate this. But he has a lot of work left to do.