James Harden Finally Lands in His Preferred Desitination

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James Harden With Brooklyn Nets Background

After a long drama that has seen the Houston Rockets struggle to start the 2020-21 NBA season, James Harden has finally been traded.

Four-Team Trade

According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets have sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a three-team trade that involved the Indiana Pacers, and Cleveland Cavaliers.Under the deal, the Rockets will receive Victor Oladipo from Indiana, Dante Exum and Rodion Kurucs from Cleveland, four future first round picks, and four first round pick swaps.

Meanwhile, the Pacers will receive Caris LeVert from the Nets and a second round pick from the Nets. The Cleveland Cavaliers on the other hand, will acquire Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince in the deal. Brooklyn of course, gets the centerpiece of the deal in Harden who will reunite with former OKC teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in what will be one of the most loaded teams in the league.

However, getting Harden meant mortgaging their future. Aside from giving up young talents like LeVert, Allen, and the veteran Prince, the Nets also sent unprotected first round picks in 2022, 2024, and 2026 to Houston as well as pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027 and a Milwaukee Bucks 1st round pick.

Ending the Drama

The deal also ends the drama in Houston which has dragged the team to a 3-6 start.The Rockets tried to patch things with Harden by acquiring John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins during the offseason, hoping to give him the support which he needed to get the Rockets over the hump. However, after their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Harden told media that he was in a point of no return. And after Wall and Cousins also voiced out their opinions on Harden, the Rockets had to act fast. And they did.

Houston underwent a major facelift after losing to the Lakers in the second round of last season’s playoffs. They fired GM Daryl Morey and later head coach Mike D’Antoni. Harden reportedly wanted the Rockets to hire Tyron Lue but Houston insisted on Stephen Silas. Worried about the team’s direction, Harden and Russell Westbrook asked to be traded. Russ was sent to Washington for Wall but the Rockets said they were willing to get uncomfortable with Harden just to get the right trade for him. But obviously, the situation had become too uncomfortable to handle.

In 8 games played this season, Harden averaged 24.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game. But Harden shot just 44.4%from the field and 34.7% from deep. More than the numbers, the Rockets were 2-6 in the games that he played and there was an obvious tension that existed between him and his teammates. With games flying by, it was obvious that the Rockets couldn’t wait much longer or else they will be giving away one season.

Getting an All-Star

The Rockets had always said that they wanted to get an All-Star player in exchange for Harden. They will be getting that in the 28-year old Oladipo who was named to back to back All-Star teams in 2018 and 2019 before missing last season with an injury.

Oladipo had ascended as the Pacers’ top player in the last three years but after the Pacers acquired Malcolm Brogdon last year, there were always talks that he could be moved this year, especially since he will be a free agent after this season. Oladipo is averaging 20.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game this season. He will be joining fellow Indiana Hoosier Eric Gordon in Houston.

But the big winners in this trade could be the other two teams involved in this mega deal. The Cleveland Cavaliers got Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince for a pick that could be in the 25-30 range and that’s a bargain. The Pacers too won big here as they got Caris LeVert instead of possibly losing Oladipo for nothing in unrestricted free agency. By dealing Oladipo, the Pacers also moved away the luxury tax threshold and now have four starters under contract until the 2022-2023 season.






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