James Harden has officially been traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a massive four-team trade that included the Nets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Nets are giving up Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, and three first-round draft picks along with four first-round pick swaps and only getting Harden in return.
This trade does not surprise as Harden has already requested and has been outspoken about no longer wanting to be with the Rockets organization. After General Manager Daryl Morey and former Head Coach Mike D’Antoni (now Assistant Coach for the Nets) left the organization, numerous players have been outspoken about the team’s dysfunction. This led All-Star and Harden’s friend Russell Westbrook to also put in a trade request just after one season in Houston.
Harden will be joining another friend on the Nets, Kevin Durant. They both played with the Oklahoma City Thunder and went to the NBA Finals in 2012. Shortly after the NBA Finals, Harden was traded to the Rockets to relieve cap space. Since then, Harden has evolved into a ball-dominant offensive All-Star. In Harden’s eight seasons with the Rockets, he has averaged 29.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 7.7 assists and has made it to the Playoffs all eight seasons.
Harden has also won the 2018 MVP, and in eight seasons, he has finished in the top three of MVP voting on five separate occasions. On top of all that, he has won the scoring title in the NBA the last three seasons, averaging over 30 points each season, and in one season, averaging 36.1 points.
The thing is, do the Nets need another player who can average more than 30 points?
Kevin Durant had already shown that he is back to the same level before his Achilles injury he suffered almost two years ago. Along with Durant, Kyrie Irving started the season off hot with two games over 30 points and only one game with fewer than 25 points in his first seven games.
This Nets offense will be insane and possible one of the highest-scoring offenses this league has ever seen. Durant, Harden, and Irving are all cable of averaging upwards of 26 points. The fit should be seamless with Mike D’Antoni already have unlocked Harden in Houston. He will need to do the same with the Nets offense as a whole.
However, there is a downside to this trade. Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen have played fantastic this season, and trading away two players with bright futures might not look so good in the future if the Nets don’t win a championship this season or the next. The question will be, does Harden’s offense elevate the team enough.
The Nets could fall short of reaching this goal in two ways…
The first one is the possibility that Harden, Irving, and Durant’s prominent personalities will clash, causing a broken locker room early in the season. This could lead to lousy performances on the court, leading to the team underachieving. This is more of speculation, and we will have to wait and see how the team meshes together.
The second way is that the defense will not be good enough to be a championship team. DeAndre Jordan is now the only Center on the team and has played so badly that he didn’t get on the court against the Denver Nuggets in Tuesday’s game.
Jarrett Allen has taken over the starting Center role and isn’t the best defender but was reliable. With Allen gone, who steps in as a defensive anchor, the defense will matter more in the playoffs when teams play each other at least four times and can come up with ways of stopping the Nets offense.
This move is a win or bust move by the Nets, which is good because they have a team that could win it all right now.
The scary thing is that the Nets gave up so much, and let’s hope it doesn’t end up like a Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade.
Featured Image: Bryce Wood/Sports Illustrated