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How will moves made by Western Conference contenders affect the Thunder?

BY MIKE BALDWIN Modified: February 19, 2010 at 9:32 am •  Published: February 19, 2010

Since three Western Conference playoff contenders made moves before Thursday’s deadline, and the Thunder, as expected, stood pat, how does that affect Oklahoma City’s playoff chances?

If the Thunder gets in the playoffs, could Portland’s deal for center Marcus Camby, or Phoenix not trading Amare Stoudemire, allow the Trail Blazers and Suns to pass them in the standings, lowering OKC’s playoff seed?

The league-wide trade with the biggest impact was Cleveland acquiring Antawn Jamison, making the Lakers and Cavaliers overwhelming favorites to meet in the NBA Finals.

But it’s three Western Conference teams in the playoff chase that made trades, and the Suns not making a trade, that could affect the Thunder.

→The Rockets acquiring Kevin Martin in a three-team deal with New York and Sacramento could turn the West into a nine-team race for eight spots. But losing Sixth Man award candidate Carl Landry in the deal clouds how much the trade will actually help the Rockets.

→Portland, having lost its two centers to season-ending injuries, filled its biggest need by acquiring Camby. But the Trail Blazers also gave up some depth by trading Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake.

→Dallas, 10-11 since Jan. 3, made the biggest splash in the West. Small forward Caron Butler is a former All-Star. Seven-foot center Brendan Haywood gives the Mavericks a presence in the paint on both ends.

But it’s a trade that wasn’t made that might also impact where the Thunder finishes in the standings.

For more than a week there were reports Phoenix might trade Stoudemire to Cleveland, possibly Miami or Philadelphia.


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