While the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat are fighting for the 2020 NBA championship, several interesting trade ideas have already started surfacing around the league. One includes a blockbuster deal that would enable two MVPs — James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks — to play together next year.
According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Bucks could pair Antetokounmpo with Harden by engaging in a three-team trade with the Houston Rockets and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In the proposed scenario by Bleacher Report, the Bucks would get Harden, the Rockets would receive Jarrett Culver, Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson, James Johnson, and the No. 1 and No. 24 overall picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, and a 2024 first-rounder, and the Timberwolves would obtain Khris Middleton and a 2022 second-rounder.
Trading Middleton, DiVincenzo, Wilson, and draft picks is undeniably a no-brainer for the Bucks if it means acquiring a player of Harden’s caliber. Harden would give the Bucks another legitimate superstar who could ease the load on Antetokounmpo’s shoulders in terms of scoring and playmaking.
It would still take time before the two alpha players would mesh well on the court, but once they find the perfect chemistry, the Bucks would undoubtedly have one of the best superstar duos in league history.
“The three-time scoring champion is a point-producing machine like we haven’t seen since Michael Jordan,” Buckley wrote. “Like Antetokounmpo, Harden has come close to leading a championship charge but hasn’t reached the Finals since handling sixth-man duties for the 2011-12 Thunder. Pair Harden with Antetokounmpo, though, and the Bucks have the NBA’s best scorer and its most disruptive defender. Not to mention, these two could be magical pick-and-roll partners. Each has an incredible gravitational pull on defenders, and neither could be crowded when they both share the floor.”
The proposed deal would also be beneficial for the Timberwolves. Instead of using the No. 1 overall selection to add another talented prospect to their roster, the suggested trade would enable them to turn it into an established All-Star in Middleton who could help Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell carry them to the top of the Western Conference in the 2020-21 NBA season.
While the proposed blockbuster would help the Bucks and the Timberwolves become more competitive next season, it would only make sense for the Rockets if they decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild. Also, before they think of moving Harden to another team, the Rockets will likely first prioritize finding a team that is willing to take on Russell Westbrook and his massive salary.