On paper, the Brooklyn Nets are stacked. If the Nets weren’t already a heavy contender in the Eastern Conference, Wednesday’s multi-team blockbuster trade cements their place as such. The Rockets FINALLY pulled the trigger in trading the former MVP James Harden to the Nets. The Nets may have given away everything but the kitchen sink to land Harden, but now they officially have their sights set on bringing an NBA title to Brooklyn.
The James Harden situation in Houston has been quite interesting over the past few seasons. Year after year, playoff loss after playoff loss it seemed as if this outcome was inevitable. Despite being paired with CP3, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and John Wall (briefly), Harden and the Rockets couldn’t seem to get over the hump of prevailing through the postseason. Former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni crumbled repeatedly under the pressure of expectation and marked his own fate with his exit in Houston.
Trouble Down In H-Town
Despite bringing in a new head coach and pairing him with 5x NBA All Star John Wall, Harden already seemed to have his state of mind elsewhere. Talks of a trade to the 76ers surfaced and rumors of a reunion with KD in Brooklyn also made their rounds but without any further action. In a recent interview with the media regarding his relationship with the Rockets, Harden exclaimed that “the situation is crazy, I don’t think it can be fixed.” This pretty much solidified that Harden wanted out, and soon enough Harden would get his wish.
Consistent Chemistry Issues
Unpopular opinion, but Harden may very well be one of the worst team players when it comes to defining a chemistry. In no way am I undermining his talent because he remains second all-time for the Rockets franchise in scoring and will undoubtedly go down as an all time Rockets great, but after repeated efforts to help bring him a supporting cast, his approval rating from former teammates doesn’t bode well in his favor.
Russell Westbrook only spent a season reunited with his close friend Harden. Their relationship on the hardwood didn’t mesh as well as the Rockets had hoped. Chris Paul, who almost won an NBA title with Harden in Houston, deemed their relationship “unsalvageable” and even went as far as to giving the Rockets the old him or me ultimatum that eventually led to Paul’s departure. John Wall, despite his brief tenure in Houston, also made it very clear that his relationship with James Harden has been anything but smooth sailing. Whatever the issue in Houston may be, there is one common denominator. James Harden.
Who Gets Who
Wednesday’s multi-team blockbuster trade went down like this…
– Rodions Kurucs
– Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024 & 2026
– Right to swap first-round picks with BKLN in 2021, 2023, 2025
– Victor Oladipo (via IND)
– Dante Exum (via CLE)
– James Harden
– 2024 second round pick (via CLE)
– Caris LeVert (traded to Rockets then to Pacers for Oladipo)
– BKLN second-round pick
– Jarrett Allen (via BKLN)
– Taurean Prince (via BKLN)
Caris LeVert was starting to become a star in his own right for the Brooklyn Nets, so it is disappointing to see him go. The same can be said for Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince who were not only great role players for KD & Kyrie to rely on, but also beginning to shine in the very roles they were given. The Nets definitely did a little spring cleaning and in my opinion may have put themselves in quite the precarious position. They not only shipped off blossoming talent in guys like LeVert & Allen, but they also gave up quite the load of draft capital in the process. Hopefully LeVert can shine in Indiana and as for the Rockets, it should be exciting to see what John Wall and Victor Oladipo can bring to the table down in H-Town.
The Time Is Now
Harden and KD are 31 and 32 respectively, with the youngest of Brooklyn’s star trio being Kyrie at age 28. Surely they have plenty of basketball ahead of them, but given KD’s history with his achilles injury and Kyrie’s nonchalant attitude when it comes to prioritizing important business matters, if this team doesn’t win a chip this could very well be a blueprint figure of what NOT to do for sustaining franchise success.
The Brooklyn Nets may very well have just doomed their long-term success when it comes to building the franchise via the draft. Especially with Houston now having a stronghold over their draft picks for the foreseeable future, but hey they’re not looking at the future just yet. They’re too busy putting all of their eggs into one basket en route to a potential NBA Finals victory. I’ll admit it, I’m here for it. If Kyrie ever decides to play again and if Harden and Durant can put egos aside, perhaps we will witness the rise of the NBA’s next super team looking to dethrone the almighty Los Angeles Lakers.