This day would end in a bang with news of this blockbuster trade. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this trade. I'm not sure who even wins the trade in the long run. So the Rockets get James Harden and fillers for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks, and a second-round pick? That seems like a lot for a bench player. I'm fully aware that Harden is a starting caliber player in the NBA, but he was a bench player for the Thunder. I think the Lakers gave up less for Dwight Howard, the best center in basketball.
Conversely, the Thunder lose James Harden, a dynamic player off the bench who helped them get to the Finals. A deal like this basically ends any chance for a return trip to the Finals. Why you say? Because Kevin Martin is not James Harden. James Harden is a good defender, a great playmaker, and an efficient scorer who can get to the rim and draw fouls. On the other hand, Kevin Martin is an atrocious defender, horrible passer, and has some of the worst shot selection. Kevin Martin can put the ball in the hoop make no mistake about it, but his all-around game is much more limited than Harden's. There is a reason why KMart is always on losing teams. He's part of the problem. At least the Thunder did receive valuable picks in return and Lamb also, so they can be still a title contender in the future, but not in the short-term. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kevin Martin just won't cut it in the West.
I've come to the conclusion that both sides lose this trade. The Thunder lose it because they are no longer a threat in the West. I was already leaning toward the Los Angeles Lakers coming out of the West before the trade, and after it, it's basically a done deal. They can't beat this Laker team by replacing Harden with Kevin Martin. They just can't. For the Rockets, they do get the best player in the deal, but at what cost? They paid a big price. They lose valuable first-round picks, a player with huge potential in Jeremy Lamb, and Kevin Martin. They are also about to give James Harden a ridiculous contract that he doesn't deserve. It seems like a splash trade to me for both sides. Nobody wins.