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NBA: Harden leaves Thunder for Rockets in multi-player trade

U.S. Olympic basketball player James Harden watches during a training session ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the M.E.N Arena in M
U.S. Olympic basketball player James Harden watches during a training session ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the M.E.N Arena in M

(Reuters) - The Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets on Saturday after the Western Conference champions were unable to reach an extension agreement with NBA's Sixth Man of the Year.

In the multi-player trade, the Thunder acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first round picks and a second round pick while center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward went the other way along with Harden.

"We wanted to sign James to an extension, but at the end of the day, these situations have to work for all those involved," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement.

"Our ownership group again showed their commitment to the organization with several significant offers," he added.

"We were unable to reach a mutual agreement and therefore executed a trade that capitalized on the opportunity to bring in a player of Kevin's caliber, a young talent like Jeremy and draft picks, which will be important to our organizational goal of a sustainable team.

"We appreciate James, Cole, Daequan and Lazar's contributions to the Thunder organization and this community and wish them the best in the future."

In helping the Thunder reach the NBA Finals, Harden averaged 16.8 points and 3.7 assists last season, and later joined team mates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team.

(Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)

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