October 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm #47691
I don’t know much about basketball, but I really like the Thunder (only just a little more than the Nets) and I’m upset about this trade. It was explained to me as a business decision to help the team save money, but I don’t understand the logic. The team got so close to winning and worked so well together and had such fan support, but now they trade Harden to save some money? They won’t be able to get anyone better than him for less money, right? What’s the point?!October 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm #47715
The Thunder tried to work out an extension with Harden, and when they couldn’t they executed this deal with Houston, who has been looking for a superstar to put fans in the stands since they missed out on Dwight Howard (Jeremy Lin doesn’t really count). That being said, I think the Thunder made out pretty well from the deal, acquiring Kevin Martin, a comparable scorer to Harden but a worse defender, as well as some youth in rookie Jeremy Lamb and 2 first-round picks and a second-rounder. Along with Harden, they gave up Lazar Hayward, Cole Aldrich and Daequan Cook, who saw little or no minutes of the end of the OKC bench. I see this as a win-win for both teams.October 30, 2012 at 5:09 am #47718
In my humble opinion, I believe that the Thunder came out as the slight loser for specific basketball reasons.
James Harden was the perfect compliment to Russell Westbrook, because Harden is a very skilled combo guard. Westbrook also being a combo guard that primarily plays point, he often attacks before initiating offense, but with Harden on the floor, he could explore freedom. Harden is equally adept at creating plays as he is scoring or shooting and is so strong with the ball as a playmaker, Westbrook could be his very best without overthinking his responsibilities, because Harden would pick up his slack. Losing Harden, an All-American in high school AND college playing on and off the ball, makes more rigid the Thunder offense.
Kevin Martin, a fine player himself, doesn’t have the same kind of ballhandling abilities that Harden possesses, thus placing more responsibility on Westbrook to work against his natural instincts as a true point guard. For that reason is why the Thunder always finished games with Harden and Westbrook together, because either could create or score depending on the possession.
In Houston, the Rockets may have received a future All-Star backcourt. Jeremy Lin, like Harden, is well-skilled with and without the ball, and can create offense as a playmaker and scorer. Essentially, the Rockets have a similar skill chemistry brewing by comparison to the Thunder’s former Harden-Westbrook duo, and it will serve them greatly.October 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm #47769
The Thunder come out losers in this deal. Harden was blossoming into a star, and the Thunder now have to hope that a piece in this deal becomes as good as Harden. Kevin Martin is a sieve defensively and will struggle guarding quality shooting guards, while Lamb and Toronto’s pick are unknown entities. This deal obviously hurts OKC next year, and does over the next several years as well. The deal also helps create a perception around the league’s stars that OKC is at least equally about its bottom line as it is making the moves it must make to win. Also, without Harden, OKC just lost its best playmaker in a sense, as Westbrook is more of a shoot first point guard.
As for Houston, they’ve wanted a star for a while and could not get one via free agency, so the choices were draft or trade. Harden is a star, while Lamb and the Toronto pick are unknown entitites. Congrats to Houston on scoring their man.November 21, 2012 at 4:39 am #49084
One thing about this trade is that it makes Westbrook more vulnerable. If he plays great, he’ll stay, but if his weaknesses are displayed in a brighter light, he may not stay long either.
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