It is official: James Harden is a Brooklyn Net, and for a hefty price tag. In what turned out to be a 4 team trade, Here's How it went down:
3 Brooklyn First Round Picks: 2022, 2024, 2026 (Unprotected)
1 Milwaukee First Round Pick: 2022 (Unprotected)
4 Brooklyn First Round Swaps: 2021, 2023, 2025, 2027
Lets Break This Down
The Nets are all in on KD, Kyrie and Harden, this is evident as you can clearly tell they've given up the next 10 years banking on the trio bringing them multiple championships. Although I think they are now the betting favorite to win the title this year, mental toughness needs to be brought up when talking about the Nets future, which clearly their star Point Guard Kyrie Irving doesn't have. It boils down to this, when the game is on the line the ball is in Kevin Durants, Kyrie Irvings, or James Hardens hands in that order, an order which I don't see Kyrie being happy about.
Another thing to mention is Kyrie reportedly hasn't show up to any team events, and is hardly responding to Kevin Durants messages... This team is great, and their is a real argument to be made this is the best big three to ever be assembled, but this all fails if Kyrie doesn't fall in line with the rest of the team. I get, competitively speaking he thinks he's the best player on the planet, and while that's fine you also have to understand Russell Westbrook also believe he is the best player on the planet, and look where that got him.
Leaving Kyrie out of it, James Harden is finally reunited with Mike D'antoni, a pairing who've won plenty together as well as set record with their offensive play. On top of this Durant has been reunited with Harden, which is scary because the last time they played together they went to the NBA Finals, and this was BEFORE James Harden became the second best scorer (at LEAST top ten all time) in the NBA, only second to his no teammate Kevin Durant.
Realistically the Nets are going to the NBA Finals, but in order for them to do that Kevin Durant and Steve Nash need to get on the same page with a unified message to Kyrie, basically stating: We want you here, we want you to buy into what we have going on, but if you are not going to do that and show up to play everyday you will not play another minute as a Brooklyn Net. The way Kyrie responds to this would change the dynamic of the team, and some may argue the team would be better without the All Star Guard, but only time will tell.
The last thing that needs to be mentioned here is longevity:
Kyrie is 28 (2 Years Left On Deal)
KD is 32 (2 Years Left on Deal)
James Harden is 31 (2 Years Left on Deal)
By the end of their deals Kyrie will be 30, still young, KD will be 34 and for a player as gifted as him that is also still young, and lastly harden will be 33 which like KD is still very young for a player of his caliber. So why do I bring up longevity? This team has 0 Chance of staying completely in tact after all of their contracts are up, and it is likely Kyrie is the odd man out. With all the frustration surrounding Kyrie on a consistent day to day basis, I am sure Steve Nash has a massive headache over this, and the rest of the Front Office probably agrees. Let's not forget, the Nets made ALL PLAYERS AVAILABLE (except KD) in trade talks today before agreeing to this trade... that includes Kyrie. The team and KD both seem to be sick of him already, but I guess are hoping by bringing in James Harden they can reel him back in to the fold.
Houston Absolutely fleeced the Nets and the rest of the teams involved, pulling off robbery in 4k. They brought in Oladipo, which brings hope to the Franchise as they are clearly trying to bring intensity to the team with John Wall, Oladipo and Demarcus Cousins. But, they also received 8 First Round Picks (which are all unprotected) for Fat Harden, who clearly stated he no longer wanted to play for them. The rockets may not win now or at all with this team and the way it is constructed, but they just pulled off a Danny Ainge/Sam Presti Special with all those acquired picks. Smile Rockets fans, you just acquired something so many franchise rarely can: A Future
The Pacers Got Caris LeVert and gave up Oladipo is basically what this boils down to. The only take away for me here is how much Leveret must hate the Nets right now, because he just got sent to a team in full tank mode.
The Cavs may actually be up to something promising without the involvement of Lebron James. Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince were aquired in the Harden deal and I gotta say good for them. There's something about Cleveland teams in all sports where when I see them win, I feel like I also somehow won, which is pretty weird given that I am a New York Knicks, Giants and Yankees Fan. The Cavs were at the stage of the rebuild where I would say "they have some pieces", but now by adding Levert I feel like I can say "they have a good young CORE". Congrats to Cleveland, this has be to a great feeling for you guys, hopefully you can make the playoffs next year.
Official Trade Grades:
The Nets Got their man, its as simple as that. Hopefully they can get Kyrie to buy in and get some good chemistry flowing over the course of this season, because if they can get moving no one is stoping them for at least two years. My only improvements (which I will get a lot of shit for) is, I wish they would've moved Kyrie and kept some picks, unless... they tried that but no one wanted Kyrie.....
The Rockets got Oldaipo, and now have probably the most explosive back court in basketball. That said explosiveness doesn't win playoff games or championships, so that alone would've gotten them a C grade, but give the amount of picks they got, they couldn't have gotten a better deal than the one they got.
Honestly, I don't really Know what the Pacers got other than Lavert (whose name I have been spelling wrong this whole time). They went full tank mode, which is kinda sad for them but they really didn't have much choice... at least they're admitting it now.
The Cavs got Jarett Allen who I think will fit nicely next to Andre Drummond. The Cavs are taking a step in the right direction, and I have to applaud them for that, the only way this deal could've gotten a B+ or higher though would've been to unload Kevin Love's contract, which is border line an impossibility.