James Harden wanted out of Houston, but the Houston Rockets weren’t giving him up the for nothing.
Still, a trade felt imminent this season, even if the deal couldn’t be made without multiple teams.
And that appears to be exactly how it played out, as the superstar guard on Wednesday reportedly was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team blockbuster.
There are a lot of moving parts here, so let’s first explain what each team reportedly got in return:
Nets get: James Harden, second-round pick
Rockets get: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, four first-round picks and four pick swaps
Cavaliers get: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
Pacers get: Caris LeVert, second-round pick
With the trade, the Nets become even more of an NBA Finals contender than they already were. Brooklyn now bolsters a big three of Kyrie Irving and former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates, Kevin Durant and Harden.
Trading for Harden, an eight-time NBA All-Star, hopefully will incentivize other players to stay long term as Irving and Durant each have player options in 2022. That will be crucial, as by that time rolls around, the Nets won’t have much to work with in the draft having traded away three unprotected first-round draft picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026, as well as pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.
If the Nets can capitalize on a title with this new superstar trio, it will all have been worth it. Otherwise, it’s not the first time Brooklyn dealt its future.
So for the Nets, this is either going to be the best move ever or it will blow up in their faces. We don’t imagine an inbetween.
The Rockets didn’t want to give away Harden for cheap, and now they are sitting on a gold mine of four unprotected first-round selections and four unprotected pick swaps. Wow.
And of course, they also got some proven NBA talent, too.
Along with Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs, the Rockets were able to acquire Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers in the deal. Oladipo is an interesting addition too, as his expiring contract and Houston’s abundance of draft picks create opportunity for the Rockets to make more moves before the March 25 trade deadline.
We’ll be keeping an eye on them for sure.
The Pacers sneaky made out great in this trade. A former All-Star like Oladipo allowed Indiana to get involved in trade discussions, and by moving him, they managed to get out of the luxury tax.
And with Oladipo set to become a free agent after this season, bringing in a second-round pick and a a solid young player like Caris LeVert is a great move. Especially since LeVert is under contract through the 2022-23 season.
How the Pacers made out could be overshadowed by the other big names, but Indiana made a strong move to build on its solid start to the season.
Cleveland’s roster after today also could get lost in the shuffle, but the future is looking especially bright.
The Cavaliers added Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen, and the latter gives them a solid center to move forward with since he’s only 22 years old.
In fact, the rest of Cleveland’s core including Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro and Kevin Porter Jr. all are 22 or younger.
Not to mention, they flipped a draft pick that wasn’t even theirs to begin with for Allen. Not bad.