Nets land Harden in 4-team megadeal
Disgruntled star guard and former league MVP James Harden finally saw his dreams become a reality. Following the second of two consecutive blowout home losses to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, Harden told reporters after the game that he did not think his Houston Rockets were “good enough,” which was his first public acknowledgment of his desire to play for another NBA franchise.
“We’re just not good enough … I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can,” Harden said. “I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
With that, Harden was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team megadeal within the next 24 hours after his scathing comments, which was referred to as “disrespectful” by a now-former teammate DeMarcus Cousins. Regardless, Harden joined the team he had coveted to join for months coming into this season and is expected to join forces with fellow NBA superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Harden could make his Brooklyn debut as soon as Saturday against the Orlando Magic.
The Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers were also involved in the deal. Along with Harden, the Nets received a 2024 second-round draft pick from the Cavs while Cleveland received Nets center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince. The Pacers landed rising Nets guard Caris Levert and a 2023 second-round pick from Houston, who may have been the biggest winner of the four-team blockbuster trade.
After shipping Harden to Brooklyn, the Rockets received a large return of spoils. Houston acquired talented Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Cavaliers guard Dante Exum, and Nets forward Rodions Kurucs. In addition to the three players, Houston got a bevy of draft picks. The Rockets obtained three unprotected first-round draft picks (2022, 2024, 2026) from Brooklyn plus four pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027) with the Nets. Houston also landed the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2022 first-round pick via Cleveland.
With the Harden trade, Brooklyn’s three best players could provide arguably the most offensive firepower on a roster in recent NBA history. Harden and Durant have combined to win seven of the last 11 NBA scoring titles. With that, the high-scoring duo became just the fifth pair of teammates each with multiple scoring titles.
The Nets saw their title odds jump from +550 to +300 in Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill after the news of the Harden trade. Brooklyn’s odds are now atop the Eastern Conference and second-best in the league behind the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. For more sports coverage, click here.