Rockets, Thunder Trade Martin, Harden
The Houston Rockets tied up one more piece of unfinished business on Saturday night, trading disgruntled Kevin Martin to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that landed James Harden in Houston. The Rockets also send Jeremy Lamb and future draft considerations to Oklahoma City. The Thunder also send Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston in the trade.
The Rockets have been looking for a way to move Martin, one of the last remnants of the Rick Adelman era in Houston, and the Thunder were looking to avoid the maximum contract discussion that Harden’s camp was trying to have. This deal accomplishes both things, and also gives the Thunder depth and draft picks in the deal.
It’s probably not a scenario that Harden’s camp will enjoy, going from a contender to a team that is in the beginning stages of a rebuild, but with his contract potentially making him a free agent next summer, he can explore other things if he doesn’t like what he hears from the Rockets.
On the flip side, Martin’s camp couldn’t be happier. He was playing good soldier during preseason, but he had previously made no secret of the fact that he wanted no part of yet another rebuild, and landing in OKC puts him on the best team he has ever been on in his career. The fact that OKC also got promising rookie Jeremy Lamb in the deal is a testament to the brilliance of Thunder GM Sam Presti. The Thunder got a difference maker this year, as well as a potential replacement long-term should the team decide not to invest in Martin at the end of the season.
The onus is now on Harden to prove that he is a max player. He’s a good player, yes, and until he choked in the NBA Finals last season he was quite a force for the Thunder. The reality, however, is that Harden is not currently a max player, and unless he takes several steps forward this season his next contract will not reflect a maximum offer. Houston is the perfect place for him to prove he should get that kind of consideration, as the Rockets are team lacking veteran direction at the moment.
Who got the better end of the trade? Put your thoughts in the comment section below!