The Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets reportedly made a huge trade Wednesday night, with the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers also in talks to sign James Harden.
However, the Nets and Rockets were the key players in that deal, with superstar James Harden now heading to Brooklyn and a group of future NBA coaches returning to Houston. It should also be noted that the four future first-round picks in this mega-trial, in addition to the four first-round picks for the Rockets, are not protected, according to Shams Charani of The Stadium and The Athletic.
The overall exchanges between the four teams seem to indicate that the pick for the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft outside of Brooklyn ultimately came from the aforementioned Knights, not the Carzers.
Sources : A company operating at full capacity:
Missiles: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodion Kurucs, 3 BKN first round (22, 24, 26), 1 MIL first (22, unprotected), 4 BKN first round exchanges (21, 23, 25, 27).
Networking : James Harden
Pacers: Carys LeVert, round two.
Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Prince of Taurus.
– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2021
Brooklyn Nets: C+
The Nets have no choice but to secure the future of the team in exchange for former Oklahoma City Thunder and Rockets guard James Harden.
Specifically, the Nets have just gone into win-win mode, with Brooklyn having traded a group of future kickers for former league player Harden. However, the Nets currently have three of the hardest players to manage in the entire NBA in Harden, playmaker Kyrie Irving and forward Kevin Durant. With this trio seemingly looking to create a soap opera in Brooklyn, this could be a time bomb that doesn’t bode well for the network.
Of course there are risks involved in any trade, let alone one involving a player like Harden, but unless the Nets can also win quickly, this could be one of the worst trades in recent memory. The Nets were embarrassingly on the wrong end of a similar trade involving the Boston Celtics. Brooklyn has acquired many veterans in exchange for an incredible number of future players. With Irving currently absent from the team, Harden seemingly running away from Houston, Durant still working on his return from serious injury, and COVID-19, some time will tell if this mark can improve.
Houston Missiles: A-
The Rockets couldn’t have done better here, although it’s always hard to lose a player like superstar goaltender James Harden. However, a frustrated Harden playing alongside playmaker John Wall, strong forward/center Christian Wood and center DeMarcus Cousins was not a recipe for success. Not only did the Rockets manage to make more picks than the team can count, but Houston also signed veteran Dante Exum of the Cleveland Cavaliers and forward Rodions Kurucs of the Nets.
Most importantly, the Rockets secured All-Star shooting guard Victor Oladipo with the help of the Pacers.
The reason Houston made the deal a success, despite having to trade a player like Harden, is that the Rockets completed their current team while maneuvering their future into a fairly advantageous position. The Rockets now offer Oladipo alongside the aforementioned Walls, Wood and Cousins, which could bring a new look to an increasingly competitive Western Conference franchise. Additionally, Houston has found a way to make four picks in the first round, in addition to four other unprotected picks.
Indiana Pacers: B
The Pacers did well here, as veteran Victor Oladipo continued to speak candidly about his uncertain future. After the Pacers resolved that situation for him and sent Oladipo to the Rockets, Indiana also had the opportunity to sign former Nets goalie Caris Lever, a talented young player who will certainly help that franchise offensively.
LeVert could bolster an already impressive Pacers roster with players like guard Malcolm Brogdon, tackler Doug McDermott, big Miles Turner and forward Domantas Sabonis. It should also be noted that LeVert is currently under the team’s control until 2023, as the Pacers look to continue their construction now and into the future. With the Nets struggling with various issues towards the end of last season and the beginning of this season, LeVert certainly made the most of his minutes in his final days in Brooklyn. With even more confidence heading into the 2020-21 season, there’s a good chance he’ll immediately blossom with the Pacers if he gets the right amount of playing time.
Cleveland Riders: B+
No one is expecting much from the Cavaliers for the 2020-21 season, although the Middle East Conference updated its list on Wednesday night. With guard Dante Exum leaving Cleveland for the Rockets, the Cavaliers split with only a first-round pick in 2022 over the Milwaukee Bucks and a second-round pick in 2024 in exchange for the Jarrett Allen Center and veteran con man Taurean Prince.
Allen is one of the best young men in the entire NBA and has only been in the NBA this season. Although he has shown flashes of genius in the past, Allen really started showing it in the final stretch of the 2020-21 regular season. But the Cavs have more than enough centers on the current roster, as the tandem of JaVale McGee and Andre Drummond owned the fort in the early going.
Now that Allen is in play, it will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers use his services, as the other teams in the league barely use crosses. Overall, though, the Riders did well, as they certainly improved with this deal. However, it remains to be seen if the Riders will be able to play competitive basketball during the 2020-21 season.