HOUSTON - James Harden plans to sign a long-term extension with the Houston Rockets before the regular season begins.
The reigning sixth man of the year joined his new team Sunday after he was traded to the Rockets from Oklahoma City late Saturday. The Thunder acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks, and a second-round pick in the surprising deal. Oklahoma City also sent center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston.
"It happened so fast, it happened very fast," Harden said. "But this is the position I'm in now. Just have to make the best out of it. I'm with Houston now."
Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Houston was able to offer Harden a contract that Oklahoma City could not. "Quite honestly, the value of the trade was greater based on the fact that the Rockets could offer him the contract that he was seeking," Presti said.
The 23-year-old said he'll have to adjust to a rebuilding team after playing for a contender. A first-round pick out of Arizona State in 2009, Harden had become indispensable in Oklahoma City: He averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in the regular season last year.
"I like the way he plays," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "He's got a pace to his game that I like. I think he plays at a speed where he can repeat things over and over again."
The Mavericks have waived forward/center Melvin Ely and forward Chris Douglas-Roberts, leaving them with still one roster move to make by Monday. The moves Sunday came only a day after Ely and Douglas-Roberts signed non-guaranteed contracts and before they had even practiced with the team.