Kevin Martin traded to Thunder, where he's the new James Harden

Streeter Lecka

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to Houston on Saturday and will expect Kevin Martin to take his spot as the all-important sixth man.

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded away a major part of their past success on Saturday, sending guard James Harden to the Houston Rockets, but received a capable scorer in Kevin Martin in return, who should be able to fill Harden's vacant role off the bench.

Martin, like Harden, had just one year remaining on his contract, but heads to Oklahoma City as an eight-year NBA veteran who has proven capable of producing off the bench. The guard and small forward averaged 17.1 points and 2.8 assists last season before missing the final 26 games with a shoulder injury.

With the Rockets completely rebuilding the roster in the offseason, Martin had been one of the few to survive the changes on the team. Now he'll be expected to fill the vacated role that Harden occupied as the sixth man on a deep Thunder roster.

Harden averaged 16.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in 2011-12 off the bench for the Thunder.

The Thunder had hoped to sign Harden to a four-year contract extension, but after signing Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka to long-term contracts this summer, Oklahoma City could only afford to offer Harden so much in order to avoid the luxury tax.

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