As noted by the publication’s Andy Bailey on Wednesday, it might seem unlikely that the Warriors would part ways with their star players, including the likes of shooting guard Klay Thompson and power forward Draymond Green, but there is a deal that could make it worthwhile. He wrote that the two All-Stars could be traded to the Rockets along with this year’s No. 2 overall pick and the Warriors’ first-round selection in the 2022 NBA Draft so that Golden State could get Harden and veteran forward P.J. Tucker in return. This deal, as pointed out, might be good enough to interest Houston management while also complying with the league’s trade rules.
As speculated by Bailey, it would likely be a while before Harden develops chemistry with his fellow ex-MVP Stephen Curry, in the event the proposed transaction becomes a reality. However, he explained that Curry didn’t have a problem “ceding control” during the three seasons Kevin Durant played for Golden State. The Bleacher Report writer added that it would likely be “nearly impossible” to guard such a backcourt duo if they get to play together.
“These are two of the best isolation scorers we’ve ever seen. And Curry’s off-ball prowess would be even tougher to contain when Harden is the player handling the ball.”
Regarding Tucker’s potential contributions, Bailey described the undersized big man as a notable “downgrade” from Green as a defender and playmaker. However, it was noted that he could still play a key role if he gets traded to the Warriors, considering that he’s known for providing a good mix of three-point shooting and solid defense against bigger frontcourt players.
As explained by Bailey, the proposed move could also help the Rockets by allowing them to reload their “stockpile of assets” more than a year after surrendering Chris Paul and several draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook. He added that Thompson could keep thriving as a three-point shooter while playing alongside Westbrook and that Green could ensure that the Rockets continue their path as a “micro-ball” team without forcing the club to sacrifice much spacing.
Although this year’s rookie class isn’t expected to be as good as most others, the No. 2 selection would reportedly give Houston a “much better chance” of drafting a future star.
The Warriors are far from the only team mentioned as a potential or theoretical suitor for Harden. Last month, one trade idea suggested that the Chicago Bulls could acquire the three-time NBA scoring leader in a deal that would send Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr., and three future first-round choices to the Rockets.