The James Harden trade could not have worked out worse for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
- Kevin Martin (now a free agent)
- Jeremy Lamb
- Steven Adams (via Toronto’s 1st-round pick)
- Two more non-lottery draft picks
The Thunder still have two unused draft picks from the trade, but they aren’t very good (a Mavericks 1st-round pick is that is top-20 protected, and a second-round pick next year).
Martin was solid for OKC last year, but he couldn’t do the same things Harden could. When Russell Westbrook got injured, Martin was exposed as more of a role player than a primary scorer.
Lamb spent time in the D-League and only appeared in 23 games for OKC last year. He was a lottery pick in last year’s draft, but it’s unclear if he is every going to be a significant NBA player.
Adams is considered a raw project that needs a few years to develop. ESPN Insider wrote about him on May 28, “no one thinks he’s quite ready for the NBA.”
OKC basically traded James Harden for one year of Kevin Martin, a D-Leaguer, a raw prospect who isn’t NBA ready, and two crappy draft picks.
The trade was done for financial reasons. The Thunder don’t have the means to pay a huge luxury tax bill, so they had to choose between paying Serge Ibaka or James Harden. They chose Ibaka, and you could still argue that that was the right decision.
But the timing of the Harden trade (they could have taken one more shot at the title before Harden became a free agent this summer), and the haul they got for him (horrible), can certainly be questioned.
Harden is one of the 20 best players in the league, and they let him walk for as little as you could possibly get for a player that good.
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