Then-Rockets general manager Daryl Morey executed a complex series of transactions to set up a trade for Paul, who opted in with L.A. contingent on the trade, and even got Paul to waive most of his trade bonus – all before free agency officially opened.
Morey now runs the 76ers, who just traded for Harden from the Nets.
Harden-to-Philadelphia rumors picked up steam as the trade deadline approached. Harden sulked in Brooklyn and eventually requested a trade to the 76ers.
Finally, the Nets – in the midst of championship contention – became convinced enough that Harden would leave for Philadelphia in free agency this summer that they traded him to another title contender while they could still get a strong return.