Who Is The Real Winner Of The James Harden Trade?

by | Jan 13, 2021 | NBA, Opinion | 0 comments

There have been James Harden trade rumors ever since the start of free agency. First, he asked for a trade and as time went on, it seemed like a trade seemed less and less likely. In fact, there was even a report out the other day that the Rockets and James Harden are prepared to finish the season together. Then on a Tuesday night after being humiliated by the Lakers in back to back contests, James Harden said this. The rumors started swirling immediately and the 76ers and Nets were deemed the finalists. Moments later, on a Wednesday afternoon, Shams Charania reported that James Harden has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets.

Here are the full details:

The Nets acquire:

  • James Harden

The Rockets acquire:

The Cavaliers acquire:

The Pacers acquire:

Brooklyn Nets

Now, one would look at this trade and assume that because the Nets got one of the best scorers in NBA history that they are the automatic winners of this trade. Not so fast. Yes, the big 3 of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden might be one of the best we have ever seen, but at the same time, all 3 of these superstars have had off court issues recently that have hurt their team. Also, this trade hurt their depth a little bit. Jarrett Allen was a very good center for them and Caris LeVert was a really good young shooting guard coming off the bench for them. DeAndre Jordan is their starting center and he has not been good this year. From Brooklyn’s point of view, it will be interesting to see how this will all pan out. Considering they gave up 3 unprotected 1sts and 4 pick swaps, all the pressure in on them and their championship window is now.

They will certainly be must watch TV.

Houston Rockets

From Houston’s point of view, they get a player in Victor Oladipo who has struggled a bit since coming back from his injury. He is a pending free agent this offseason and if he plays good for them, they will look to re-sign him. If he doesn’t then they could clear about $20M in cap space this offseason. Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs are interesting young pieces, but I do not think they will play a major role for this team. And then obviously the picks. It is a great haul of picks for a guy who had no intentions on playing another game in Houston again. In about 4ish years, if KD, Harden, and Kyrie leave, then those picks are going to turn out to be really juicy.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland got involved in this trade and honestly did really well for themselves. They basically traded Dante Exum and a 2022 MIL 1st for Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince. Allen is a restricted free agent this offseason and I am fairly confident that the Cavs will re-sign him and he will be their center of the future. Taurean Prince is an interesting player, however. When he played for the Hawks, he seemed like an up and coming 3 and D wing. Then the Nets traded for him, and he just has not been playing good basketball. Maybe a change of scenery is all he needs to play like he did back in Atlanta. It will be interesting to see what the Cavaliers do with their front court jam. They currently have JaVale McGee, Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr, and Jarrett Allen under contract. The Cavs wanted to be the 3rd team and honestly, they did really good for themselves.

Indiana Pacers

I bet you have seen a bunch of James Harden hypothetical trades and I can guarantee that none of them had Caris LeVert being traded from the Rockets to the Pacers in exchange for Victor Oladipo. But, it happened and in my opinion, the Pacers absolutely won this side of the trade. They trade away a player who hasn’t been the same since returning from injury in exchange for a younger and under more years of control player in Caris Levert. Levert will fit in with this young core the Pacers have going on and I am hoping that he breaks out there. I think Levert will be a very good player when it is all said and done and the Pacers did an incredible job with this trade.

The Winners

Overall, I can see the point of view of why every team made the trade. The Nets wanted to make KD happy and win now, the Rockets wanted draft capital and potentially a lot of cap space, the Cavaliers got their young center of the future, and the Pacers upgraded their shooting guard position. In the end however, my winners have to be the Cavaliers and the Pacers. I just love the return they got and they did not pay a steep price at all. The Rockets failed to get a young star and the Nets gutted some main pieces from their team with the season almost a month in already. It will definitely be interesting to see how this all turns out and Nets fans better hope this doesn’t turn out to be the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade all over again.