Though news of the trade was met with widespread shock and a bevy of backlash among the fan base, Presti stuck to his stated goal of doing what’s in the best interest of the long term health of the franchise.
“At the end of the day, you have to do the best thing for the organization,” Presti said at his preseason press conference. “That’s what my job is. The day that I stop doing what’s in the best interest of the organization is the day that you should get somebody else.”
NBA commissioner David Stern has trumpeted “player sharing” in this new collective bargaining agreement, and the Thunder becomes the first team to fall victim to the more stringent rules.
Oklahoma City, however, will receive a protected first-round pick from Toronto (that will be conveyed to the Thunder if it is No. 4 through No. 14), a pick the Raptors sent Houston in the Kyle Lowry trade, as well as a top 20 protected first-round pick from Dallas, which the Rockets received from the Lakers in last year’s Derek Fisher trade. L.A. received the pick from Dallas in the Lamar Odom trade.
The second-round pick is a 2013 selection originally belonging to Charlotte. Houston acquired it from Boston in the Courtney Lee trade. It’s the same pick the NBA recently forced the Thunder to convey to the Celtics as compensation for Jeff Green missing the entire 2011-12 season with a heart condition.
Martin, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard, is a career 18.4-point scorer who is known for his perimeter shooting and efficiency. The 29-year-old Martin is entering his ninth season and will make $12.9 million in the final year of his contract. He told the Houston Chronicle on Saturday night that he was “very happy” but called the trade “bittersweet.”
Lamb, this year’s 12th overall pick, averaged 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals last season as a sophomore at Connecticut. Lamb, 20, is among the most athletic rookies in this year’s class.
Harden will make his lone appearance inside Chesapeake Energy Arena as a member of the Rockets on Nov. 28.
“We appreciate James, Cole, Daequan and Lazar’s contributions to the Thunder organization and this community and wish them the best in the future,” Presti said.