We are witnessing an end of an era for the Houston Rockets. Finally, the “Harden Deal” ends after James Harden is traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Four teams took part in this trade, and we will see how it will affect those franchises.
By allowing James Harden to reunite with his former teammate Kevin Durant, the Rockets completed his exit and have set up a super-team in Brooklyn. It is interesting that the same agents, Jason Ranne and Chafee Fields, who worked on Russell Westbrook’s trade to Washington, have arranged the deal that included another Houston’s All-Star.
The Brooklyn Nets sent three unprotected first-round picks – 2022, 2024, 2026 – plus pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027, Rodions Kurucs and Caris LeVert to Houston. They also sent Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Rockets extended the deal and immediately traded LeVert to Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo.
This deal made by Houston GM Rafael Stone brought to the Rockets one of the greatest draft packages in the league’s history and Victor Oladipo with an expiring contract. That means they have the option of moving forward with him. They are still playoff contenders this season, with John Wall, Oladipo, and Christian Wood in the starting five. Interesting about this situation is that Houston doesn’t have a backup option for John Wall because Dante Exum (calf) will be out for the next 6-8 weeks. We will see if they will acquire someone on a two-way deal or will wait for Exum to recover, playing with Oladipo at the PG for the time being.
Meanwhile, in the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers have filled their rosters with young and prospective players and improved their chances of winning a ring in a season or two. The Nets will try to do it now or in the upcoming season, at least. With Jarrett Allen (22), the center position on the Cavs is reserved for the next two seasons, minimum. Andre Drummond is on his way out, so this move is very reasonable.
Who won the trade?
The winners of this blockbuster trade, in my opinion, are the Indiana Pacers. Starting five contains all players younger than 28, in their peak. They secured their playoff spot for at least the next three seasons (excluding this one) if there are no further changes on the roster. The expected starting five is Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, TJ Warren, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner. Even now, this team is ready to play conference semi-finals.
To put the focus back on James Harden’s trade to Brooklyn, I will talk about their roster now. Kyrie Irving is missing three consecutive games for no particular reason, and Harden in his worst season start since 2012. The only member of Brooklyn’s big three who is showing some effort is Kevin Durant. DeAndre Jordan remains the only center on their roster, for now, so the Nets will try to make a deal with DeWayne Dedmon to become a backup option for Jordan. They could offer him a part of Dinwiddie DPE ($5.7M) when it’s approved. Nick Claxton is also an option, but he is dealing with a season-ending injury.
It will be a sensational trade if Irving decides to play and James Harden enters the mood he was in last season(s). If those two continue to behave as prima donnas, this trade will be a real waste of first-round picks.
To sum up, the Houston Rockets received Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, three first-round picks (22, 24, 26) from Brooklyn, and a first-round pick (22) from Milwaukee. Those are all unprotected, while four BKN first-round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27) are also unprotected. The Brooklyn Nets received James Harden and a second-round pick. The Indiana Pacers acquired Caris LeVert and a second-round pick, while the Cleveland Cavaliers got Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince.
Nets are making the same mistake
In my opinion, with Harden traded to the Brooklyn Nets, they made the same mistake as they did with the famous Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry trade. But this time, if everything turns out as it should be, they will reach the NBA finals. Other participants in the trade got a better deal, and I would call Indiana Pacers the winners. What outcome awaits us at the season end, no one knows, but this will be an amazing season for sure.
What do you think NBA fans? James Harden is traded to the Brooklyn Nets, but will it make Steve Nash’s team a true contender, or the Big Three will cause disharmony in the locker room? Tell us your opinion in the comments section.