Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah Jazz: OKC, Houston both got better in Harden trade, Jazz say
NBA » Thunder’s third option will be primary scorer for the Rockets.
First Published Oct 29 2012 04:20 pm • Last Updated Oct 30 2012 11:12 am

After an offseason filled with blockbusters, the Western Conference was already thought to be significantly better than a year ago.

Then Oklahoma City traded James Harden.

At a glance

Dallas at Utah

Wednesday, 7 p.m.

TV » ROOT

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The defending conference champion Thunder broke up its young core Saturday with a deal that sent All-Star Harden to Houston after the sides failed to agree on a contract extension. The Thunder, in return, received Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and draft picks. The Jazz reflected the mood around the NBA, with coaches and players saying both teams got better.

"I think [Harden] is a great addition to Houston," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He’s a dynamic scorer and he’ll continue to expand his game because he’ll be on the floor more in Houston. Oklahoma City [now has] Martin, who can fill it up. They’ve got guys that already can fill it, that’s another guy that can replace Harden that can fill it up off the bench."

Harden averaged 16.8 points per game coming off the bench last season for Houston, while Martin, who will be 30 before the end of the season, has averaged 18.4 points in eight NBA seasons.

The centerpiece of the deal, obviously, was Harden. He will move into a starting role in Houston, with which he has said he will sign an extension. Instead of being the third option, Harden will get the opportunity to be a primary scorer — and on one of the teams the Jazz beat out for the eighth seed in last year’s playoffs.

"One of the best things he does is he finds a way to get to the basket and get to the free throw line," Gordon Hayward said. "He’s hard to guard, especially with his left hand. He gets to the basket."

Last year, the Rockets finished 34-32 in the lockout-shortened season.

On the road to begin


story continues below
story continues below

The Jazz open the regular season Wednesday against Dallas, but they shouldn’t get too used to the comforts of home. November is a rough month for the Jazz, who play 12 of their first 18 games on the road, including a four-game East Coast trip from Nov. 12 to Nov. 17.

It’s a tough way to start the season, but at least one Jazz player said he embraces the chance to play road games.

"I always love playing on the road," point guard Mo Williams said. "Your back against the wall, nobody’s in the gym but you or your teammates and the coaches. … Everybody hates you, bullies you, they’ve got signs that are heckling you. I thrive off that."

In a month that could set the tone for the rest of the season, the Jazz could use some thriving.

Not coming Mack

Once again, Hayward is the only Butler alum playing in the NBA.

The Jazz guard’s college teammate, Shelvin Mack, was one of two players cut by Washington on Sunday, bringing the Wizards’ roster to the league-maximum 15 players. Mack led mid-major Butler to back-to-back NCAA Tournament championship game appearances, including in 2010 alongside Hayward that included Sweet 16 and Elite Eight victories in Salt Lake City.

"I sent him a text message," Hayward said. "It’s hard to know what to do. He’s a good friend and I know he’s going to bounce back. I know he probably wants his space, but I bet 100 people are texting him right now. He’s a great point guard and I know he’ll find a spot."

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.