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What the OKC Thunder really got in the James Harden trade

The Thunder hauled in a bunch of assets Saturday.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 28, 2012

Assets and flexibility.

Flexibility and assets.

They seem to go hand in hand these days in the NBA.

But for the past five seasons, the Thunder franchise has established a lifeline on the backs of those two buzzwords.

So what are they, what do they mean?

An asset can be a player, draft pick, trade exception or cold hard cash. Flexibility generally refers to salary cap space, both in the short and long term, shorter player contracts and, yes, more draft picks.

On Saturday, the Thunder hauled in a wheelbarrow of more assets and flexibility after sending James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and three draft picks.

Before you can understand how those additions can benefit the Thunder, you must first understand exactly what they are.

Martin is a potent wing scorer with a reputation for efficiency, and Lamb is a 2012 lottery pick projected to have a bright future. But more on them shortly. Let's breakdown the picks.

The Rockets sent OKC a protected first-round pick via Toronto. The “protection” allows the Raptors to keep the pick — which they sent to Houston to acquire Kyle Lowry — if it's 1-3 or 15-30 in 2013. If the Raptors keep it, it rolls over and is protected from 1-2 and 15-30 in 2014 and in 2015 only the top selection and 15-30 would be protected.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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