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NBA trade deadline: San Antonio Spurs looking ahead to OKC Thunder

Berry Tramel: By picking up Stephen Jackson, the Spurs added a thorn in the side of Kevin Durant.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 15, 2012
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So the Thunder was willing to let the Spurs, and the Los Angeles teams, and even potential first-round foes Denver and Houston tinker with their rosters.

The Lakers got better, but only marginally. Sessions is an upgrade over Fisher, but there will be something comforting for any foe not seeing Fisher in Laker gold. The old guy knows how to play, knows what his team needs and is one of the generation's best clutch playoff shooters.

The Thunder will take their chances with Ramon Sessions, who has started 89 of his 300 games, spent with the Bucks and the post-LeBron Cavaliers.

The Clippers found in Nick Young a replacement for the shooting void left by Chauncey Billups. But Young often will take 20 shots to get his 20 shots. That's about eight possessions per game in which Chris Paul is not lobbing the ball to Blake Griffin. So that's a deal that could go south.

Beware of Houston. The Rockets have beaten the Thunder twice already and now 7-foot Marcus Camby is headed to Houston, courtesy of the Portland fire sale.

The Rockets already had a shot-blocking fiend in Samuel Dalembert. Now the Rockets have another shot-blocking fiend, only they can throw the ball to this one. Camby could make Westbrook's and Harden's drives to the basket a lot more perilous in a best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets have weakened themselves. If the Thunder is matched against Denver, no Nene, since he was shipped to the Wizards for JaVale McGee, a talented but undependable center with little offense and a lot of bad attitude.

Perkins was invaluable against Nene, a load of an offensive player. Now, he'll be needed less against the Nuggets, which means the Thunder offense will be even better.

Add it up, and the Western Conference just got tougher for the Thunder. But it's never not tough. And the Thunder can take solace in knowing that the toughest road in the West is for those who have to play Oklahoma City.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.