The Oklahoma City Thunder had to know that they were taking a bit of a gamble when they traded away James Harden before the beginning of the 2012-2013 NBA season. However, they probably didn’t realize how big of a gamble it was until they saw how lost they were when Russell Westbrook went out with a knee injury in the playoffs.
Harden would have been the guy to step up for the Thunder had he still been with them. Without him there, though, the Thunder called upon Kevin Martin, who they acquired in the Harden trade, to help make up for some of the things they were missing without Westbrook. However, Martin was inconsistent and didn’t really deliver the goods, at least not in the way that Harden could have.
Martin had an up-and-down season for the Thunder. He played in 77 games and averaged 27.7 minutes per game off of the bench. In that role as OKC’s sixth man, he averaged 14 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game on 45 percent shooting and 42.6 percent three-point shooting. However, he wasn’t near the playmaker or the defender that Harden was for them before.
Now Martin will be a free agent this off-season and the Thunder have to decide whether or not they want to re-sign him or not. This past year, Martin made $12 million, but will likely receive less than that in free agency this summer. Considering the Thunder’s needs, though, Martin isn’t their guy. They need a more consistent sixth man and someone that can defend better than Martin can. Martin is valuable in the right role in the NBA, but not for the Thunder at this time.