We plan and carefully prepare, but often our lives are shaped by the unexpected.  The surprise job offer, the college admission to the better school, the sudden death of a loved one.  Good or bad, we cope when fate appears and make the most of the hand dealt, even if needing a completely different route.

Saturday’s acquisition of Thunder guard James Harden was an unexpected boon for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.  Only time will tell how good they’ll be, but with the trade, Morey’s team now has a distinct shape.  Harden, guard Jeremy Lin, center Omer Asik, and forward Chandler Parsons are all—or in Harden’s case expected to be soon—locked in long term.  To fill the hole at power forward, many expect Morey to make use of the money his team has available below the cap.

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Late Saturday night, when news broke of the Houston Rockets’ stunning acquisition of James Harden, there was only one person whose coverage I followed for reaction from the Thunder side – Royce Young of DailyThunder.com (and also CBSsports.com), a sister affiliate at ESPN.com.  Below is the transcript of our discussion about this trade.

Huq: I’ve been following your coverage all day on the Thunder side of things.  It seems this was about more than just money for Presti; it was about culture and sacrifice.  On the basketball end, how big a drop-off do you feel this will be for Oklahoma City this season?  While Lamb may not yet be ready, I feel many are vastly underrating what Kevin Martin can bring to the table.  The NBA forgot, because no one was watching, but this is still a player who can put up 30 points in the blink of an eye, and take very few shots to do it.

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I sit down with Michael Pina once again to discuss the Houston Rockets’ acquisition of guard James Harden.

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Y!’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s fascinating account of how the deal took shape:

Before sitting down a final time with Pelinka, Presti became more serious in his discussions with Morey. Houston wanted Harden badly, believed he would evolve into a transcendent franchise star for a championship-caliber team and planned to award him a five-year maximum contract worth nearly $80 million. So, Presti laid out what he wanted for Harden and the original price was steep: Kevin Martin, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lamb and three first-round picks, including Houston’s own in 2013.

The Houston Rockets’ Jason Friedman:

In the pick-and-roll, Harden is downright devastating. Last year he ranked in the league’s 97th percentile in such situations according to Synergy Sports, generating 1.06 points per possession. By the way, that’s better than LeBron James, Chris Paul and Steve Nash. Let that sink in for a moment. And when you recover, please realize that Harden isn’t just someone who excels at creating offense for himself; he’s also a deft passer plenty capable of generating scoring opportunities for his teammates as well.

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UPDATED below at 2:25 AM 10/28/12

The Rockets have acquired reigning Sixth Man of the Year award winning guard James Harden, according to Yahoo! NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski:

The Rockets sent Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and future draft considerations to the Thunder for Harden, sources told Y! Sports. Along with Harden, the Thunder will send Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward, and Daequan Cook. 

As part of the deal, the Thunder will receive “significant” future draft picks from Houston, a source told Y! Sports. 

The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry adds that at least three of the picks the Thunder will be getting are a protected first-round pick from Toronto, a protected 1st-round pick from Dallas, and a 2013 Charlotte second rounder.

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