Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey engineers a blockbuster trade, sending guards Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for star guard James Harden and three other players.
The Rockets sent the Thunder two future first-round picks (Toronto and Dallas) and a future second-round pick (Charlotte).
The Rockets also acquire center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward.
We are very excited with tonight's trade," said Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander in a statement released by the team. "While I never like having to send out quality players like Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, this trade gives us a chance to make an immediate impact on the future of our franchise moving forward. James Harden was part of Team USA's gold medal team at the London Olympics and is one of the most skilled shooting guards in the NBA.
"James, along with the mix of young players we already have in place such as Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik give us a very solid group of young, talented players who will form the core of our team."
Landing a player of Harden's caliber has been one of general manager Daryl Moreys' goals.
"James is the foundational, franchise-type player we have been seeking the past few seasons," Morey said in a statement released by the team.
"He makes us better from day one and will play a big part in helping get us back to a championship level."
Lamb, the first-round pick from UCONN, was stunned by the news.
"It's just surprising," Lamb said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "Definitely shocked.
"It's like welcome to the league."
Lamb looks forward to joining the Thunder.
"It's good," Lamb said. "They've got some great players that I can get better with.
"I was just getting used to the (Rockets). Now I've got to go to the Thunder family and make my way."
NBA sources told FOX 26 Sports the Rockets will offer Harden a maximum contract and that those familiar with Harden's thinking indicate that he is interested in such an offer.
The Rockets must sign him to an extension by Wednesday or he will become a restricted free agent after the season.
Hardin was the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year last season in helping the Thunder get to the NBA Finals.
"Obviously, it's sad to see Kevin and Jeremy go," said Rockets forward Chandler Parsons. "You develop relationships off the court with them, you get personal with them.
"I think James Harden is an unbelievable player. He's one of the top shooting guards in the NBA. We're going to have him and Cole come and with those two guys building around our young nucleus, I think will be really good for us."
Martin was traded by the Rockets to the New Orleans Hornets last year, only to have the NBA block the deal.
He told the Houston Chronicle the trade to the Thunder is "bittersweet," and this trade wlll go through.
"Sometimes you just can't describe how you feel in words," Martin said. "Very surreal feeling."