It happened. James Harden's wish has been fulfilled, and the upset star reunites with his former OKC teammate. Former MVP James Harden heads to the Brooklyn Nets in a monster four-team blockbuster deal. On paper, the Nets have an incredible trio of superstars who are all dominant scorers. Will their personalities and scoring abilities clash well? When diving into the full parameters of the trade, it is difficult to confidently say the Nets won the trade.
So the Nets form a super team. That's great and all, but this "big three" have a very tight window to win a championship. KD, Kyrie, and James Harden all are set to become free agents in 2022. Two seasons the Nets have to win a title or this could implode in their face and set the franchise back for a decade. This deal brings back similar memories to the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett deal with the amount of draft capital the team gave up. I would assume that both KD and Harden are long term options, but this experiment has a chance of not working at all.
The question stands, was what they gave up worth James Harden? If they win a ring, then absolutely, but their team took a blow. They were already down Spencer Dinwiddie, who fell to an ACL tear. Losing Jarrett Allen will hurt their defense tremendously. DeAndre Jordan is good but he is not as good as the young Allen. They also ship off Caris LeVert, who has been a fan favorite as well as a consistent player for the Nets. How will this deal hurt Joe Harris as well? If you are grading their move on both the Nets and Harden's wants, then they get an A, but the team will need to come together and work in parallel to even sniff the championship.
The Houston Rockets were dealt a difficult card. Their franchise star player wanted out. The team chemistry was in shambles. They, unfortunately, needed to move on from Harden ASAP. They took their disgruntled star and turned him into four firsts and four pick swaps plus former All-Star Victor Oladipo. The combo of Oladipo, John Wall, and DeMarcus Cousins is a bubble playoff team, but their future seems to be bright with the ability to build for the future if all three of those players leave one day. They now are in a similar position to the Thunder, owning dozens of draft picks over the next decade. The only way the Rockets could have won more if the trade went through with the 76ers. If Ben Simmons was on the table, that could have been a very different story.
The Pacers fared well too in this trade. It was apparent that Victor Oldapio's time in Indiana was coming to an end. Picking up Caris LeVert was a highly underrated move. He is a young up-and-coming baller who has two more years under contract.
The real winners? The Clevland Cavaliers. They added a young and upcoming center in Jarrett Allen, who would be a nice complimentary piece to their developing core of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. They already have Andre Drummond at the center, but they won't have to pay his price tag in free agency. They also added nice depth in Taurean Prince. They did all of this by flipping Dante Exum (who has been injured), the Bucks pick (which plummeted after Giannis resigned), and a 2024 second-rounder. What a steal.
At the end of the day, the Nets are positioning themselves to be the best team in the East. Will this move topple Giannis and the Bucs or the young flashy Celtics, are even the prior East Champions Miami Heat? You would think, but it is way too soon to tell. Even if they come out on top, can they take down the big bad Los Angeles Lakers?
Photo: Los Angeles Lakers