One of the valuable pieces the Oklahoma City Thunder received from the Houston Rockets in the James Harden trade was the No. 12 overall pick from the 2012 NBA Draft, Jeremy Lamb.
Lamb has not gotten a chance with the Thunder this season yet playing just 64 minutes for them while spending most of his time with their D-League affiliate Tulsa 66ers.
Are the Thunder planning to trade Lamb?
The question is whether that will happen with the Thunder, which may be better off resigning the efficient Martin after the season and using Lamb in a deal for a center. Phoenix could be a good trade partner, since it has the prized big man to offer — Marcin Gortat — and a big need at the shooting guard position.
It will be hard for the Thunder to tell this early if they are going to be able to sign Martin after the season. He is in the last year of his contract making $12 million this season and would have to take a significant pay-cut to stay in OKC.
If the Thunder decide that they cannot keep Martin then Lamb becomes a nice backup plan. Lamb is showing that he can score in his time in the D-League and he could blossom into a more versatile version of Martin in a few years.
The Thunder are in the business of winning now. Waiting on Lamb to develop over sticking with the proven Martin could cost them a chance at winning a title.
If the Thunder were to trade Lamb Phoenix’s way for Gortat, they would be taking on some money. Gortat is due $15 million this year and the next. The Thunder would basically have to choose between Martin, Gortat and Kendrick Perkins.
Many people will scream to let Perkins go and whether or not that would be the right move, it just doesn’t seem like the Thunder would. They value Perkins so much with what he brings them on the defensive end.
One of the reasons the Thunder made the James Harden trade was to become more flexible with their roster forming for the future. It wasn’t to acquire Lamb and right now Lamb resembles a trade chip than anything else.
The trade deadline is Feb. 21, expect Lamb’s name to come up a few more times.