Fantasy Analysis of the James Harden – Kevin Martin Trade

James Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets in a big preseason deal Saturday night.  The complete deal is Harden, Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward headed to Houston in return for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and a couple of future first round picks.

Fantasy Analysis – Wow.  Never thought Oklahoma City would get rid of Harden, but finances just made this move a necessity.  The Thunder just have too much tied up right now between Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka.  I’ve seen guys reporting that OKC really got taken here, but I completely disagree.  They now have a second team of Eric Maynor, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones with the cap space to bring in some talent and two extra first round picks in 2013.  I’ll take that setup for the future anyday.  Here’s a quick look at the biggest fantasy implications:

James Harden – Harden sees a big bump up in value in Houston.  He’s goes from being a sixth man type player and third or fourth offensive option in OKC to being a 35+ MPG player and the primary offensive option for a very young and inexperienced Houston team.  There is absolutely nobody to back Harden up in Houston, so look for big minutes out of him.  What OKC was offering wasn’t that far away from the max deal that he can get in Houston, but I don’t think this whole situation was about money for Harden, it was more about being ‘the man’ on his own team.  He now has his own team rather than playing third or fourth fiddle to Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka.  He’ll also likely make up any lost money in extra endorsements.  The guys that took a chance and drafted Harden early really stuck gold with this trade.

Kevin Martin – Martin is in the last year of his deal and there’s no guarantee that the Thunder will sign him beyond this season, in fact they probably have no desire to sign him and thus the inclusion of Jeremy Lamb.  Martin probably doesn’t see much of a change in value with the move, but maybe just the encouragement of going from a cellar dweller to a championship team can keep him focused and on the court more than he probably would have been otherwise.  Martin is still pretty much a points and threes category player and nothing else.

Jeremy Lamb – I really like Lamb and used a spot in my SiriusXM Dynasty League on him.  He’s a pure scorer and will probably be just as good as Kevin Martin within a year or so.  Lamb’s prospects for playing time this season are probably hurt by this deal, but his future may be brighter.  I had originally expected a Kevin Martin trade midseason with Lamb stepping into the starting rotation.  This may still happen, but he’s got Thabo Sefolosha to contend with in OKC and there’s less opportunity right now on that talent laden team even if he does enter the starting five.

Perry Jones – I also drafted Perry Jones in my SiriusXM Dynasty League and the trade of Daequan Cook really shows the belief and confidence that the Thunder have in Jones backing up Kevin Durant.  If Durant goes down, Jones could find himself very fantasy relevant.  Stash him as a handcuff if you used your first round pick on Durant.

Cole Aldrich – Aldrich never really had any shot at getting meaningful playing time in OKC and his prospects probably don’t change much in Houston.  He does however have more chance with a rebuilding team than he did with the championship contender.  He’s still waiver wire material until he shows something.

Daequan Cook – Cook is a three point specialist and the Rockets already have Chandler Parsons at small forward.  I’d say he’s got more opportunity for minutes behind Parsons than he did behind Durant.

Nick Collison – Collison might see a bump up in minutes with Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward out of the way, but his fantasy prospects are still pretty dim.  Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Perry Jones grabbing some minutes at PF in certain situations.


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