You may recall that yesterday we reported on Houston Rockets star James Harden wasn’t too happy with life in Houston and the fact that his team were poor and that he hadn’t beentraded as per his wishes.
Well now he has been granted that wish after the Houston Rockets announced that the player was headed to the Brooklyn Nets in what is a blockbuster trade that involves at least four NBA teams.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2021
Complex Trade Deal
The deal is a complex one and started initially with Harden being traded to the Brooklyn Nets. In return, the Houston Rockets received three first round picks (2022, 2024 and 2026) plus four pick swaps in (2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027) plus guard Chris LeVert and forward Rodions Kurucs.
LeVert though won’t be playing in Houston any time soon as he was then immediately traded to the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo, with Houston also sending the Pacers a second-round pick.
However, the Nets also let center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince head to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the deal, which then meant Cleveland guard Dante Exum joined the Rockets and the Rockets also received Cleveland’s 2022 first round pick.
Summary of the deal
To make sense of the complex deal, here is what each team has received in full:
- Brooklyn Nets: James Harden (from Houston Rockets), plus 2024 Second Round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- Houston Rockets – Victor Oladipo (from Indiana Pacers), Dante Exum (from Cleveland Cavaliers), Rodions Kurucs (from Brooklyn Nets) plus three unprotected first round draft picks (2022, 2024, 2026) and four pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027) from Brooklyn. Plus they also receive Cleveland’s 2022 first round pick, via the Milwaukee Bucks.
- Indiana Pacers – Caris LeVert (from Houston Rockets, via the Brooklyn Nets), plus a 2023 Second Round pick from the Houston Rockets
- Cleveland Cavaliers – Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince (both from Brooklyn Nets)
Durant and Harden Reunited as Houston Rebuild
After his outburst following the defeat to the Lakers yesterday, Harden was asked by team officials not to attend practice to avoid any issues with teammates, unhappy at the somewhat unkind and derogatory comments he made about the team after the game.
Rumours of a trade then began to swirl and a few hours later, the deal was announced.
The move sees Harden reunited with his former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant at the Nets and forms part of a fantastic trio of top NBA talent with All Star guard Kyrie Irving also part of the team.
Given that Harden has averaged over 30 points per game over the last three seasons, and with Durant hitting an average of 29.4 points per game this season, Irving 27.1 points per game, this does give the Nets some serious firepower that is the match of any team in the NBA.
Nets fans will undoubtedly be very excited to see how their dream trio perform over the remainder of the season.
In contrast, for Houston Rockets fans, they can at least be reassured that the James Harden circus this season is now over.
With three new players on the roster, plus a whole host of draft picks banked, it is clear the Rockets are seeking to rebuild the franchise. Whether they use the draft for that or combine the picks into a package to trade for existing NBA stars, remains to be seen.
Brooklyn Now Second Favourites for NBA Championship
Many experts feel the move now pushes Brooklyn Nets, who are a somewhat disappointing 7-6 so far this season, into serious contention in the Eastern Conference.
Indeed, a quick look at the odds with DraftKings Online Sportsbook reveals that the Brooklyn Nets price to become the NBA Champions has shortened dramatically to just +290 following the news of the trade, putting them clear second favourites just behind the current champions, the LA Lakers (+250).
A quick and potentially explosive return?
However, fans have already noted that Harden may be returning to Houston more quickly than expected, with the Nets scheduled to visit the Rockets on March 3, for the final game of the first half of each team’s scheduled games in the regular season.
There is going to be little love lost in that potentially explosive game with Harden’s former teammates, who he deemed not good enough, likely to be eager to put one over their former colleague.