As the 2020 – 2021 season of the National Basketball Association began last December James Harden has been nothing but a huge distraction and constant headache for the Houston Rockets. After demanding a trade from Houston Harden finally got what he wished for. On Thursday, January 14th, 2021 the Brooklyn Nets and the Houston Rockets officially announced that they have reached an agreement on a four team blockbuster trade that also involves the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Trade Details
The Houston Rockets are sending James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets and the Rockets receive guard Caris LeVert as well as 3 first round draft selections in return. The Houston Rockets are then dealing LeVert to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for the star shooting guard Victor Oladipo. This agreement should be officially announced by the Rockets and the Pacers sometime very soon.
The Brooklyn Nets are sending center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Houston Rockets will acquire guard Dante Exum from the Cleveland Cavs as well as forward Rodions Kurucs from the Brooklyn Nets. The Houston Rockets will gain three unprotected first round draft picks from the Brooklyn Nets in 2022, 2024, and 2026 in addition to pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027 according to the Nets.
The Houston Rockets will also receive the Cleveland Cavaliers first round selection in the 2022 NBA draft through the Milwaukee Bucks. The Houston Rockets are dealing a 2023 second round draft pick to the Indiana Pacers. The Cleveland Cavaliers are giving the Brooklyn Nets a 2024 second round pick from the Cleveland Cavs. According to sources at ESPN, “The Nets have three open roster spots to fill out their bench, if they choose — a $5.7 million tax midlevel, the minimum exception and likely a $5.7 million disabled player exception.”
Another Super Team is Born: The New Look Brooklyn Nets
This complicated 4 team blockbuster trade ultimately creates a big 3 megateam for the Brooklyn Nets. Harden is one of the games most prolific scorers, and he will now be joining superstar and former NBA MVP in Kevin Durant as well as the multitalented point guard and 6 time NBA All Star in Kyrie Irving. Although the Brooklyn Nets are extremely excited about this major acquisition, they do have three players that all like to hog the ball and shoot as much as they possibly can. It will be interesting to see if they will play well together and be able to share the ball on the offensive side of the ball.
Another possible issue for the Brooklyn Nets moving forward is their defensive efforts that they will receive as this big three is not particularly known for playing much defense at all. Defense is necessary especially in the Eastern Conference of the NBA with other highly competitive teams loaded with big and strong players such as the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Adding an All-NBA player such as James to our roster better positions our team to compete against the league’s best,” says the Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks. “James is one of the most prolific scorers and playmakers in our game, and we are thrilled to bring his special talents to Brooklyn.
“While we are excited to welcome James and his family to the Nets, we also want to thank the players who are departing. Caris, Jarrett, Rodions and Taurean were instrumental to the team’s success and have made an enormous impact on our organization. It has been a pleasure watching them grow both as players and as people and they will always be part of our Nets family. We wish each of them and their families all the best in the future.”
The Milwaukee Bucks superstar big man, Giannis Antetokounmpo, described the blockbuster NBA trade as, “An amazing move by Brooklyn.”
“Obviously they got better, way better,” Antetokounmpo goes on to say. “And they’re really a powerhouse right now in the East having KD, James Harden, Kyrie Irving together on one team. That’s tough.
“But, at the end of the day, we’ve got to focus on ourselves. We’ve got to keep improving, keep playing good basketball and moving forward, we’ll see how it is going to end up.”
The Houston Rockets first year head coach, Stephen Silas, summed up the drama surrounding James Harden by calling it an, “All around messed up situation.”
“On behalf of the entire Rockets organization and the City of Houston, I’d like to thank James Harden for an amazing eight-plus seasons in a Rockets uniform,” the Houston Rockets owner Tilman J. Fertitta stated. “James has provided us with so many great memories as we’ve watched him grow from Sixth Man of the Year to a perennial All-Star and MVP. My family and I also want to thank James for his many off the court contributions, including generous charitable donations and multiple annual community events. We wish James the best of luck and will always be grateful for the memories.”
“My first thought: It’s good to get James Harden to the East,” the Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr expressed. “A lot of the dominant NBA players have been in the West for whatever reason. And it’s good to balance it out.”