By Jazmine Smith

James Harden being traded to the Houston Rockets came as a shock to everyone this past weekend. Several players (and fans) around the league took part in voicing their shock, and in some cases disagreement, over the situation via their social networking sites. Harden, the reigning sixth man of the year, had quite the year this past 2011-2012 season averaging 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steal per game, and those numbers go up if moved to a per-36 minute basis. Harden has improved each season since being picked third overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder, becoming one of the team’s most efficient players. Not to mention, the chemistry he shared with the team especially Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, was unbelievable. With all of these things in mind, you wonder why the Thunder let go of such a gem. The answer—$8 million. Thunder GM Sam Presti proposed a contract extension worth $52 million over four years. Harden however wanted a max contract worth $60 million over four years. Allegedly, the Houston Rockets are planning to offer Harden a contract worth $80 million over five years. Granted, the new role Harden will have in Houston will be much more different from that in Oklahoma City. Considering his skills, capabilities and potential for growth there’s no doubt that filling this role won’t be a problem for “The Beard”. My only hope is that the Rockets do indeed offer him the max contract he deserves.

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