The James Harden era in Houston is finally over.
Harden has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team deal that will send 2x all-star Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, three Nets’ first round picks, four Nets’ first round pick swaps (Rockets receive best), and one Milwaukee Bucks’ first round pick to the Houston Rockets; Caris LeVert and a second round pick to the Indiana Pacers; and Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The deal is set to thrust the Nets to immediate contention in the Eastern Conference – although some pundits worry that they now lack the necessary depth to make a run to the Finals.
The Nets lose their starting center in Jarrett Allen, second leading scorer in Caris LeVert, and future draft security in three unprotected first round picks and four unprotected first round pick swaps.
It’s clear that this is a “win-now” move by the Nets – but with star guard Kyrie Irving reportedly “off the grid,” many are wondering if the team can put it all together.
Nonetheless, the talent is certainly there.
But perhaps the biggest winners of the trade were the other three teams involved.
The Rockets were able to offload a team distraction in Harden and bring in a former all-star in Oladipo, as well as bring in considerable draft capital to rebuild with.
The Pacers were able to offload a rumored-to-be disgruntled Oladipo in the last year of his contract for a younger, more dynamic guard in LeVert.
The Cavs were able to acquire a 22 year old rim-runner with big potential in Allen for the low price of Exum, a first round pick, and a second round pick.
Time will tell the whole story of who won the trade – but for now it seems each team received what it was looking for.