The James Harden era is finally over in Houston. The Beard has been on the cusp of an exit since demanding a trade from the Houston Rockets, as he aims for an NBA championship title before calling time on his career. The 31-year-old was eyeing a reunion with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant and his wish was granted after an epic four-team trade on Wednesday (Thursday IST). Here's the breakdown of one of the biggest deals in recent NBA history, and the James Harden trade details:
James Harden had mentioned Nets as his first priority while requesting a trade from the Rockets and after weeks of disgruntlement, the 31-year-old had his wish granted. The Nets now have an all-action offence, with Harden pairing up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, in what could be one one of the most exciting trios in basketball in recent times. How the trio fit together and play to each other's strengths will always be a question til coach Steve Nash blends their talents in, but there is no doubt in the sheer amount of quality that Nets now represent.
On the downside though, Brooklyn traded Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, and while Harden comes in for the former, the latter's defensive reliance will be missed. Harden had hinted previously that he does 'not' want to be the centrepiece of the jigsaw, and the Nets might provide him with the perfect opportunity to flourish and win his first-ever NBA championship.
Sources: Full current trade:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2021
Rockets: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, 3 BKN first-rounders (22, 24, 26), 1 MIL first (22, unprotected), 4 BKN 1st round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27)
Nets: James Harden
Pacers: Caris LeVert, 2nd-rounder
Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
Trading James Harden was inevitable for the Rockets, and the Houston front office have taken a gamble by acquiring a significant amount of draft capital over the next few years. The Rockets also have Victor Oladipo in their ranks now and the 28-year-old could prove to be a real coup considering the flexibility he provides. While the Victor Oladipo injury issues are well documented, the ex-Indian Pacers star is a real talent on both ends of the pitch and is in his contract year. Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs are likely to be used as rotation options by coach Stephen Silas but were mainly included as contract and roster fillers.
The main highlight of the deal is the amount of draft the Rockets are going to boast over the next few seasons. The Rockets will receive four first-round draft picks from the Nets in 2022, 2024 and 2026, with another 2022 first-round pick coming from the Milwaukee Bucks via Cleveland. Furthermore, the Rockets also have pick swaps with the Nets in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027, giving them significant draft control to rebuild the team in the post-Harden era. While it certainly represents a huge risk, Rockets GM Rafael Stone will believe it was a gamble worth taking after the events since his arrival at the Toyota centre.
Victor Oladipo and the Indian Pacers always seemed a mismatch especially given his recent injury issues and the Pacers have done really well to roll the dice on him. While acquiring Caris LeVert won't turn heads, the 26-year-old has proved to be a reliable scorer for the Nets in recent times, especially during the week where both Durant and Irving were out of action. LeVert's consistency is always in question, but there is a growing belief that the former Nets man will combine well the likes of Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon and TJ Warren when he returns from injury. The 26-year-old also is a cost-effective option and is signed on until 2023 for approximately $18 million every season, and Oladipo was likely to demand much higher than that.
Cavaliers' Koby Altman might just pat himself on the back after he nailed in what could be a sensational piece of business in years to come. Cleveland boasts of an exciting and talented backcourt in the likes of Colin Sexton and Darius Garland, and with the arrival of Jarret Allen, the Cavs have their big man of the future. The 22-year-old has been an excellent presence on both ends of the court for Brooklyn and has a presence in defence which the Nets will severely miss.
Allen is an all-action player, and has flirted with the idea of shooting 3-pointers in recent times and could cover any area on the court seamlessly. The 22-year-old's arrival could also mean the end of the road for Andre Drummond, and the Cavs could trade him before the deadline.