The Oklahoma City Thunder's decision to trade James Harden to the Houston Rockets was a little shocking to many in the basketball community, and it just might end up haunting OKC during the postseason.
"It was shocking but they made the move they felt was right for them," Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade commented. "It shakes up the West a little bit. I think both teams got fair value. I'm not a GM or anything but both teams came out pretty good... I'm not one of those guys who fell back too far. They have good depth; Kevin Martin is a pretty good scorer in this league. We'll see how it shakes out but I still think they're the best team in the West right now."
Given how dominant Oklahoma looked last season, it's a little surprising they were willing to give up a major asset like Harden. The 23 year-old averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game last season, and he looked like a future NBA superstar in the making. Oklahoma's fans embraced him, and a large number could be seen wearing Harden-like beards during their solid postseason run.
However, Martin is indeed a solid scorer -- averaging 17.1 points per game during the 2011/12 season -- so it's easy to see the Thunder's brass' view as well. Kevin should be able to match Harden's numbers on the court, but I don't think he'll be embraced by Oklahoma's fans like the latter was.
Still, with Lamb (12th pick in the 2012 NBA draft), and two future first round picks, the Thunder did get a fair deal for Harden. However, that doesn't mean the Thunder will be just as good without him. Harden was a big part of the Thunders' team chemistry, and it'll be interesting to see how Kevin Durant and company deal with the loss.
"I think we all know that James Harden was a big part of their team," LeBron said. "He was a big part of why they made it to the Finals. They got a couple pieces back that are really good as well. But we don't know how it changes their team until they actually get out there."
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