By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
Houston, your sports town has 99 problems, but James Harden ain’t one of them. Not anymore.
Wednesday’s blockbuster trade that shipped Harden to the Nets would eventually play out as a four-team deal and shake the league by storm for many more reasons beyond the grumpy Harden finally finding his home in the borough of Brooklyn.
No, this was not just a trade to put out one of the league’s toughest fires, but a trade that brought warmth to each of the teams involved, providing convenient personnel boosts that fit the directions each of the teams are heading.
Brooklyn Nets – Bringing Harden to the superstar lineup of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving adds just that much more firepower to an already explosive offensive lineup. The Nets did a good job making the blockbuster trade without moving their key players Joe Harris, Laundry Shamet and Spencer Dinwiddie, keeping their shooting and options open for bench support for the present and future.
Sacrifices will have to be made, but with Harden’s experience as the third offensive option during his time with Durant as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, his relationships with Durant and Irving along with his reunion with current assistant coach and former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, his transition to the team can be smoother and can be beneficial offensively if barring Durant or Irving have to miss multiple games in a period. The Nets went to win-now mode, and for the next few years it will be championship or bust with the new Big 3 taking over Brooklyn.
Houston Rockets – The Rockets got a U-Haul package of picks being sent to H-Town, but the biggest factor of this blockbuster trade is the incoming talent of All-Star Victor Oladipo. The Rockets have superstar talent that has been plagued by injuries.
John Wall had an Achillies injury that kept Wall out all of last season, DeMarcus Cousins has been plagued with Achillies, quad and knee injuries that have kept him off the court consistently the past few years. Oladipo, the newest member of the team, was plagued with a torn quadriceps injury that kept him out until the later part of the bubble last season.
All of those players have a common goal in proving themselves this season, and as long as they stay healthy, they can be another Big 3 in the Western Conference that can make some noise. To pair along with the mini Big 3 is the addition of Dante Exum, a young player that provide solid skills to back up John Wall in the second unit. This trade prepared the Rockets for a competitive present that includes revised chances of playoff hopes, especially with the expanded playoff format for this season, while also securing a future.
Indiana Pacers – The Pacers have decided to hit the small refresh button by unloading an unhappy Oladipo and bringing in a young Caris LeVert. As the Pacers continue to navigate life without Oladipo offensively, bringing in a young upcoming star in LeVert fits with the current roster, especially in the backcourt with Malcom Brogdon. The emergence LeVert will have some big shoes to fill, but at the end of the day he is a quality piece that can be part of a solid foundational structure of the franchise moving forward.
Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs received Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince in the trade. Prince is a quality veteran that brings a great aura/presence in the locker room, can play defense as well as shoot the three. Allen is a young big man with All-Star potential. He would be able to fit the young developing core and improve the projectory the team is currently heading in the Eastern Conference.
The team is in a rebuild and these additions cater toward the development of that rebuild. However, these additions also would also include opportunities for top quality big men like Andre Drummond or JaVale McGee to become available come the trade deadline or buyout season so they can contribute to championship/playoff contending teams.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Senior Writer for WARR Media