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Thunder send sixth man Harden to Rockets

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Thunder send sixth man Harden to Rockets

Unable to work out an extension with James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded the Sixth Man of the Year to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, breaking up the young core of the Western Conference champions.

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.

The Oct. 31 deadline to extend Harden or allow him to become a restricted free agent next July had been hanging over the Thunder from the moment they reported to training camp.

``We wanted to sign James to an extension, but at the end of the day, these situations have to work for all those involved. Our ownership group again showed their commitment to the organization with several significant offers,'' Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement.

``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.''

The small-market Thunder had already signed Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka to long-term deals, and apparently realized Harden was going to want a bigger salary than they would offer.

The Thunder got back a good scorer in Martin, who has averaged 18.4 points in his eight NBA seasons, and a promising young player in Lamb, the No. 12 pick in the draft who helped Connecticut win the 2011 NCAA championship. He led Houston's summer league team in scoring with 20 points per game.

But Harden was a huge part of Oklahoma City's success and had said he might even be open to sacrifice dollars in order to stay with the Thunder. But they've been unwilling to climb into the luxury tax, which will only become harsher under the new collective bargaining agreement.

Harden averaged 16.8 points and 3.7 assists last season, and joined Durant and Westbrook on the U.S. men's Olympic team. He struggled badly in Oklahoma City's loss to Miami in the NBA Finals, but the Thunder felt good about their chances of getting back there with another year of experience for their young stars, all 24 or younger.

However, Yahoo Sports reported that Harden turned down a four-year contract worth about $52 million, and the Thunder moved quickly to trade him after that.

The Rockets rebuilt their roster in the offseason and hoped to land Dwight Howard. Houston traded or released just about every veteran except Martin, who was in the final year of his contract and due about $13 million this season.

Martin averaged 17.1 points and 2.8 assists last season, his eighth in the NBA and third in Houston. He missed the last 26 games last season with a shoulder injury, though he also developed a rift with Houston coach Kevin McHale late in the season.

The Rockets have until Wednesday to sign Harden to the extension that Oklahoma City couldn't.

``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,'' Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said.

``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.''

New Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin also chimed in about the trade on Twitter.

``Really sad to see Kmart and JLamb go,'' Lin wrote. ``...both class acts and great teammates. Welcome Harden, Cook, Aldrich and Hayward to Houston!!''

Houston collected draft picks while it was making a flurry of deals, part of a package to offer Orlando for Howard. The Rockets traded point guard Kyle Lowry to Toronto for a lottery-protected first-round pick, one of Oklahoma City's acquisitions on Saturday night.

The other first-round pick was acquired by Houston when it traded Jordan Hill to the Los Angeles Lakers last March. The second-round pick came to the Rockets in a deal that sent guard Courtney Lee to Boston.

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AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan in Houston contributed to this report.

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Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-2) head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada after an overtime/shootout loss against the Florida Panthers last Friday. 

The Caps are determined to avoid the devastation they felt in the first period when they gave away four goals to the Panthers. They will need to focus in the power plays and avoid penalties at all costs.

Many fans were looking forward to the reunion with former player Jay Beagle, who is now centerman for the Canucks, but he is unfortunately out on injury. However you can look out for Caps Nic Dowd, who will have his own homecoming game against his former team. 

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Canucks which takes place at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.
 

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 8 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When: Monday, October 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Canucks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Canucks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS SCHEDULE

9:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
9:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
10:00 PM: Capitals vs. Canucks
12:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Lars Eller, F, Capitals: In his last game, he had a three-point night with three assists. He is a messaive help and shined within the trio of Vrana and Connoly on Friday.

Tim Schaller, F, Canucks: He was struggling in the preseason but came back with a vengeance. He assisted with a penatly kill and is a key component in fourth line. 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

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Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards head to the West Coast to open a road swing against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

Wizards (0-2) are looking for their first win when the head into Portland to face Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers (2-0).

After this game, the Wizards have a tough stretch ahead of them before playing in D.C. again, playing at: Golden State, Sacramento, LA (Lakers) and Memphis.

WIZARDS vs. TRAIL BLAZERS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat, 2018 NBA regular season Game 3
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
When: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Trail Blazers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Trail Blazers on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. TRAIL BLAZERS TV SCHEDULE

8:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

9:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

10:00 PM: Wizards @ Portland Trail Blazers (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard remains day-to-day with a back injury.
Trail Blazers: None

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, Wizards: After becoming the Wizards franchise leader in 3 points on Saturday, it is likely Beal will have a lot to prove to help the team get its first win.

Otto Porter, Jr., Wizards: Porter has had a slow start, so will he take more shots in Portland?

Damian Lillard, Portland: The Blazers' star is leading the way this season averaging 28.5 ppg and 6.5 assists per game. 

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 111 games
Regular Season Record: Blazers lead 57-54
Last Meeting: Wizards won 106-92 in December 2017