Kevin Martin is the biggest piece the Oklahoma City Thunder got in return for James Harden in their blockbuster trade this weekend.
Martin comes in from Houston as a player who has been one of the best scorers in the league in the NBA. He has averaged over 23 points per game three times and is a very efficient scorer as well.
Martin is an expiring contract owed $12.4 million this season and most think the Thunder will just end up renting him for the year or trading him at the deadline.
It makes sense because surely the Thunder do not want to pay Martin near what he is making right now after this season. That is close to the amount they offered Harden to stay.
If Martin is going to stay with the Thunder beyond this season, he will have to take a pretty significant pay cut. But Martin may actually be willing to do so.
Here is what Martin had to say upon learning of the trade: “Oh my gosh!!!!!!! Feels like a damn dream!”
Martin has never been part of a winning franchise yet in his career and now at the age of 29, his dreams have been answered in being shipped to the defending Western Conference champs.
It feels like Martin really plans to make the most out of this opportunity. And you know once he gets into practices and workouts with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, that Thunder culture will be upon him and every player seems to reach their potential in that environment.
There is a scenario for Martin and the Thunder in which he could remain with the team after this season. He would have to fit in and become an important part of the team which is totally reasonable. In fact, he will probably be coming off the bench as long as Thabo Sefolosha stays healthy and should be one of the favorites to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
The Thunder have a lot of young talent on their roster right now like Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III. Thunder management sees all three of them as players who will become important parts of the rotation in the future. So Martin would really need to stand out and really be willing to accept less money to stay with the team.
Otherwise, a trade at the deadline or sign-and-trade after the season seems like the best bet for him. Thunder GM Sam Presti is all about getting the most out of every asset which is very obvious with how he handled Harden.
Presti sees Martin as an asset too and combined with the three draft picks OKC got from Houston, the Thunder should be able to get something in return for Martin instead of using him as just a rental.
The Thunder will open their regular season this Thursday on the road vs. the San Antonio Spurs where we will get the first chance to see Martin in action.