Updated: Jan 16
James Harden finally got his wish to be traded from the Houston Rockets. On January 13th, a day where the sitting president was impeached for the second time (a first in United States history), the NBA sent shockwaves as the Rockets announced a 4-team megadeal to trade former MVP James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. The deal is pending league approval but it looks like Harden eventually got what he wanted, and now are the Nets better for it?
So here’s the details of this historic mega-deal in according to sources with ESPN:
C Jarrett Allen and F Taurean Prince are headed to the Cavs.
The Rockets receive Cleveland Cavaliers G Dante Exum and Brooklyn F Rodions Kurucs. (salary inclusion to make the deal work).
Houston also receives Brooklyn's three unprotected first-round draft picks -- 2022, 2024 and 2026, plus pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.
The Rockets also get Cleveland's 2022 first-round pick, via the Milwaukee Bucks, and Houston is sending a 2023 second-round pick to the Pacers.
Brooklyn also gets a 2024 second-round pick from the Cavaliers. The Nets have three open roster spots to fill out their bench, if they choose -- a $5.7 million tax mid-level, the minimum exception and likely a $5.7 million disabled player exception.
Did you follow all that? Basically the Nets have pushed the chips in the middle of the table to get their man. And they had to, they spent a lot of money in 2019 to get Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Irving hasn’t played in a week however (another story for another blog), and the Nets have been 4-6 since starting 2-0 as of 1/13. The Nets needed to make a move to help Durant and Durant has wanted Harden for months. With Kyrie MIA, Spencer Dinwiddle likely out for the year and the team struggling, this was a must.
For the Rockets, the Harden saga had reached its climax after their Tuesday performance again the Los Angeles Lakers (a humiliating blowout). Harden has been a headache since GM Daryl Morley left the team then Russel Westbrook demanded and eventually was traded out of town to Washington. Harden showed up to camp late and out of shape, made it no secret he wanted out and has looked completely disinterested. He averaged less than 20 PPG in his last 4 games and after the blowout loss to the Lakers, all but signaled his desire to be traded, how it could not be fixed in Houston and this team ”just isn’t good enough”. You know it’s bad when Demarcus Cousins is the voice of reason after the game. John Wall echoed the same feelings of hurt and frustration, basically saying that not everyone has bought in to the plan (wink wink). But now the drama is behind him as he’s on the move.
But will this be the answer for the Nets? The gave up a king’s ransom to get an out of shape elite scorer who plays no defense. The biggest issue in Brooklyn, other than Kyrie being MIA, is that they play no defense. Not a surprise on a Mike D’Antoni lead team. De’Andre Jordan is a shell of himself and Jarrett
Allen is in Cleveland now. The chemistry with a deep team of players is lost with the arrival of Harden. But at the end of the day, you signed one of the greatest scorers in league history in Durant, that is a sign that you are all in. So you had to do this day to make sure that signing counts. You are all in for a championship, you can't accept failure. Not you have to get Kyrie back on the court, and he has to answer for why he just hasn't show up for the last week. This will be a Conference Finals contender regardless, but can they defend in May/June to play with the Sixers/Celtics/Lakers/Clippers? Time will tell…