Breaking Down the Blockbuster James Harden Trade
As tension continued to build between the Rockets and former NBA MVP James Harden, trade talks between Houston and a plethora of teams progressed that culminated in a league rattling deal.
A trade that started with two teams ended with four teams involved with several players and picks exchanged. At the core of it all was James Harden finding a new home in Brooklyn alongside former teammate Kevin Durant.
Despite rumors swirling that the 76ers were the most likely to land Harden, the Nets were able to offer a draft capital heavy package that enticed Rockets management.
Nets Receive: James Harden and a 2nd Round Pick (CLE)
Rockets Receive: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, Four 1st Round Picks (BKN & MIL), and Four 1st Round Pick Swaps (BKN)
Cavaliers Receive: Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince
Pacers Receive: Caris Levert and a 2nd Round Pick (HOU)
Cleveland adds a true rim protector behind the “Sexland” back court tandem.
After sending out only Dante Exum and a future second rounder, the Cavs may have found their center of the future.
Jarrett Allen has had an interesting last few seasons in his extremely young career. After proving to be a true rim protector and valuable presence on the floor, the signing of Deandre Jordan hindered the continued growth of the Texas Longhorn alum.
Jarrett Allen is the perfect center to have behind a young back court tandem in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. The undersized duo is bound to have defensive lapses and having a rim protector like Jarrett Allen behind them will surely make opposing players second guess coming into the lane. Allen has had two seasons in the top 15 in terms of block percentage and at the time of this trade ranks number nine in that category.
The Cavs have a log jam at the center position with Drummond, McGee and now Allen. As the Cavs continue their youth movement, Allen should be the sure fire favorite to garner the starting center position. Drummond being on a contract year makes him a candidate to be moved near the deadline or sooner giving Allen all the opportunity to control the paint.
Pacers move on from Victor Oladipo and Caris Levert gets a change of scenery.
The Pacers swooped in and made a move out of left field but a move that has more than likely been brewing for quite some time.
A simple Oladipo for Levert swap removed the Pacers from possibly being the team to pay the former All-NBA guard. While the market of Oladipo may vary it would have been unfortunate to see Oladipo walk without getting anything in return.
Levert is a certified bucket, no other way to put it. In 12 games this season Levert has averaged 18.5 points and 6.0 assists in his bench role. The 26-year-old guard can fit anywhere in any role. Whether its off ball as a spot up shooter or off the bench where he is running the second unit, Levert has always been impactful when given the opportunity.
The Pacers now have a guard that’s under contract for the next three years on a fairly decent contract. Levert is making $52-mllion over three years which is far less than what Oladipo was looking for. Levert may not raise the Pacers ceiling by much, if at all, but he’s an excellent replacement for Oladipo.
Houston finds their suitor but was the return underwhelming?
While the return for James Harden would never fully match his generational talent, it seems the Rockets could have gotten a lot more.
The Rockets knocked it out the park in terms of draft capital. They walked away from the trade with four first round picks and four pick swaps but when compared to other offers, how much does this impact the Rockets in the immediate future?
Reports came out that the 76ers were willing to include Ben Simmons in order to bring Harden to Philly. Simmons is 24 years old and already a two-time All-Star and an All-NBA player. On top of that, Simmons has solidified himself as one of the top defenders in the league. Even though a back court of Simmons and John Wall raises concerns in terms of spacing, Simmons would have given the Rockets a true building block for the future.
Instead, the Rockets bring in Victor Oladipo — who still has desires to play in Miami — and Dante Exum. A lineup of Oladipo, Wall and an emerging Christian Wood is not bad at all and in all honesty is enough to secure a playoff spot but isn’t quite the reset you would have assumed they would have been looking for when the Harden drama started.
Brooklyn goes ALL IN on Harden and now the pressure is on.
James Harden finally got his way.
As the former NBA MVP arrives in Brooklyn to team up with his former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant, all eyes are on Brooklyn to capture the franchises first NBA Championship. This trade is fairly simple for the Nets. They now hold three of the greatest scorers the game has ever seen in their possession. And just to play devils advocate, lets say that whatever is going on with Kyrie Irving carries over into something disastrous: Brooklyn is still a favorite in the East.
Something that does raise some red flags is the lack of depth the Nets have. No longer having Levert and Allen leaves them thin but at the end of the day they have three of the best in the league. There shouldn’t be many moments, if any, where one of their big three is not on the floor. If it’s true that stars win championships, then this Nets team is at the very top of the list of championship contenders.
There has always been a lot of chatter in regard to Harden and his playoff performances. With so many doubters, all eyes are on Harden and company to get the job done. The Nets gave up a lot of assets to make this deal happen and the last time they sacrificed an abundance of assets they found themselves at the bottom of the standings in the years that followed. While the Rockets ae banking on things in Brooklyn to go awry in order to get the best picks possible, Brooklyn is hoping that the risk meets the reward.