My Thoughts on the Harden Mega-Deal (1/15/21)

The Nets Go All-In With James Harden, But The Move Has Risks |  FiveThirtyEight
Jeez, James. Hopefully now that you’re more motivated you’ll drop a couple pounds.

James Harden finally got traded. After all of the things James Harden was saying and the way he was acting, we all knew that it was going to happen. It doesn’t make the trade any less crazy, though. What makes the trade even crazier is that there are four teams involved, and Harden isn’t the only big name switching teams. This trade shook up the whole league. I’m going to talk about all four teams in this trade, and what it means for them.

Brooklyn Nets

Get: James Harden

Give up: Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, 4 Unprotected First Round Picks, 4 First Round Pick Swaps

Oh my, are the Brooklyn Nets scary now. Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving are a top trio ever. On paper. On the court, too. If you have three players of that caliber, you’re going to win games, even if the chemistry isn’t perfect. That’s the big knock against these three. All of them are top offensive players who need the ball a lot. The good news is that no one else on the Nets this season needs the ball a lot. So I actually think this team will work. The only team I think would beat the Nets in a 7 game series the majority of the time is the Lakers. I only say that because no one in Brooklyn is stopping AD. Even if the Nets aren’t deep, they are too talented at the top to beat. The only thing that can stop the Nets while KD, Harden, and Kyrie are under contract is themselves.

(Because, what is Kyrie doing? He’s a nutcase. He did get fined recently, but it was for going to a family event without a mask. Imagine if LeBron skipped three or four games for literally no reason. That would be a big deal for the league, and he would get penalized. I don’t know what Kyrie is doing, but I think he should be suspended for a little while. He should not be allowed to skip a game because he doesn’t want to play.)

Houston Rockets

Get: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, 3 Unprotected First Round Picks, 4 First Round Pick Swaps

Give up: James Harden, 2023 Second Round Pick

I’m actually kind of confused on Houston’s intentions with this deal. They had to trade Harden, and they got a good haul. Eight first round picks is crazy. That’s really valuable for the Rockets because they had very little draft capital before this deal. The confusing part is the LeVert-Oladipo thing. Why would Houston want Oladipo over LeVert? LeVert is really good, and he would really shine on a team like Houston. Oladipo is a guy on an expiring deal who wants to be in Miami right now. Like, does Houston want to keep winning? They could definitely make the playoffs, they have a good roster, but there’s no way they make it past the first round. I really think they should have taken LeVert instead of flipping him for Oladipo. But who knows, maybe I’ll be proved wrong.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Get: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

Give up: Dante Exum, Unprotected First Round Pick (via MIL)

Cleveland just finessed their way into getting Jarrett Allen. All they had to give up was Dante Exum and a Bucks pick that won’t be very valuable. At the moment, Cleveland’s big rotation is packed (Andre Drummond, JaVale McGee, and now Jarrett Allen), but unless Cleveland decides they want to make the playoffs, Drummond will get moved at the deadline. Even if they do keep Drummond, he’ll be gone this offseason and Jarrett can step into the starting role. Jarrett Allen has been playing very well for Brooklyn, and he’s a great fit for Cleveland’s timeline as a center alongside Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.

Indiana Pacers

Get: Caris LeVert, 2023 Second Round Pick

Give up: Victor Oladipo

Indiana won big with this trade. Caris LeVert is really good, and a bigger role with the Pacers will be great for him. Oladipo clearly wanted out, and instead of letting him walk this offseason, Indy flipped him for LeVert. Though Oladipo is a better player right now, LeVert is a better option for the Pacers. They were smart to capitalize on this opportunity to flip VO.  

So, in the end, I don’t think there are any losers in this trade yet. Every team got a good haul. If anybody loses this trade, it will be decided in the future. But this is the biggest trade that happened the last few years, and I’m excited to see how all the players do on their new teams.

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