Rockets trade James Harden to Nets for enormous package of players, picks, per report


James Harden is getting the trade he wanted. The Houston Rockets are sending their former MVP to the Brooklyn Nets in a massive blockbuster deal. The Rockets will receive four first-round picks and four pick swaps, all of which will come from the Nets except for a 2022 Milwaukee pick currently owned by Cleveland. Houston will also receive Caris LeVert, Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs. The Cavaliers will get Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince in the deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

Harden has been pushing for a trade to the Nets, specifically, since initially requesting a trade during the offseason. He played with Kevin Durant with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first three seasons of his career, and now that the two of them have reunited, Brooklyn should have the NBA‘s best offense by far. 

Considering how much they just gave up, though, the Nets still have work to do if they plan to build an all-around contender. After a hot start defensively, the Nets have given up 113.2 points per 100 possessions in their past eight games, ranking 25th in the league in that span. Harden is not known for his defense, and neither are most of the role players that remain in place. Still, the Harden-Durant pairing with a practically limitless supply of shooting should give Brooklyn quite a bit of leeway as they are likely to have the NBA’s best offense. 

That should only be confirmed when Kyrie Irving returns, but the fringe benefit of this deal for Brooklyn is that Harden provides a measure of insurance against either injury or personal absence on Irving’s part. The Nets have two offensive superstars regardless of what happens with Irving now, and in all likelihood, will enter the playoffs with three of them. 

The Rockets, meanwhile, appear headed for a full-scale rebuild, and it was one that they needed considering the assets they’ve already lost. Houston owes first-round picks to the Thunder in 2024 and 2026, as well as swap rights in 2021 and 2025, and with no path to immediate contention in sight, needed to use Harden to refill their coffers. They’ve done so with this deal. While there are questions about how LeVert’s ability to lead a team, it should be noted that Harden himself arrived in Houston with similar concerns. Brooklyn’s draft picks, especially its later ones, should give the Rockets several chances at adding impact players.

The deal may not grant the Rockets the franchise centerpiece they’d been hoping for, but it gives them more freedom to rebuild at their own pace. It will be a frustrating few years in Houston, but once Harden publicly declared the situation unfixable, the Rockets had no choice but to move on a deal. They’ve done so now, and in the process have acquired 





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