A James Harden trade looked imminent for most of the day. Moments ago, we got the blockbuster deal: the former MVP is heading to the Brooklyn Nets, in a mega three-team trade that featured Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, four unprotected first-round picks, and four potential Nets-Rockets pick swaps.
The messy Rockets season began after last season ended in the fall. Harden and Russell Westbrook both wanted out of Houston, with Westbrook eventually getting swapped for John Wall and landing on the Washington Wizards.
Now, Harden is heading to Brooklyn, to pair with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant, and star guard Kyrie Irving, assuming he rejoins the team at some point. There may be no more clear example of a trade necessitating an NBA Title than this one.
Bradley Beal, whose team was on the other side of the first big Rockets trade this year, just weighed in on Twitter. Like the rest of us who follow the NBA, he’s pretty gobstopped here.
— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) January 13, 2021
If this works out, it is hard to imagine a team with more firepower than Brooklyn. Durant, Harden, and Irving are probably three of the top 10 most offensively talented players in the league, at the very least. Earlier in the season, before Durant went out due to contact tracing and Irving went AWOL, they looked like a potential juggernaut.
All three are also ball-dominant players, especially the mercurial James Harden and Kyrie Irving. The trio will either be unstoppable, or the chemistry here could wind up being a mess. It may be a situation where the chance to add another MVP-level player like Harden was too good to pass up, but the Nets are taking a major risk.
The Brooklyn Nets’ NBA Draft future is now mortgaged out to 2027, and there’s a fair chance that none of these three players will still be on the team when it fully vests. Still, if they bring the franchise its first title, it may well be worth it.