Thunder Trade James Harden To Houston: Trade Overview

        The Oklahoma City Thunder traded their third best player over the weekend, Sixth Man of the Year and fourth year guard, James Harden. And in return, the Houston Rockets sent shooting guards Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and two future first-round picks. So who won the deal?

        Although it may seem baffling that the Thunder gave up such a crucial piece to their young core of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and even Serge Ibaka should be considered here, it was necessary. Harden rejects OKC's most recent contract offer, one less than the max money he was craving. Instead of losing the wing to the highest bidder on the free agent market, which surely was not going to be the Thunder.

        Tagging along with Harden in the deal are Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward.

        Harden is one of the league's up-and-coming scorers, scoring nearly 17 points per game off the bench, while shooting .491 percent from the field and .390 from 3-point range. As strong as he is from the perimeter, Harden attacks the rim with aggressiveness, averaging six free-throw attempts a game.

        Kevin Martin is a similar offensive threat, historically worse than Harden with his perimeter jumper, but better attacking off the bounce. Last year excluded due to an injury plagued season, Martin was a 23 point per game scorer with a eight free throw attempts. Overall, he isn't as strong of a rebounder or playmaker for others and does not possess the defensive impact Harden could.

        But, the Thunder continue to build on the foundation that got them this far by acquiring 2012 first round pick, Jeremy Lamb, a smooth scorer from the mid range, and two future first round picks from Houston.

        Even with a future star to build around in Houston, this cannot be seen as a win for the Rockets. Those first round picks were originally acquired by trading away embattled point guard Kyle Lowry in hopes of landing Dwight Howard. For Oklahoma City, the instant impact may set them back just a tad bit, but gives them an even brighter future with Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka locked up in the long term.

By Staff Writer - 10 - 28 - 12