As the 2020-21 NBA season draws closer, several crazy trade ideas involving Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden continue to surface in the league. These include a three-team blockbuster deal involving the Dallas Mavericks that would send Harden to the Portland Trail Blazers and CJ McCollum to the Rockets. In the proposed scenario by Lauren Gunn of SB Nation’s Mavs Moneyball, the Trail Blazers would acquire Harden; the Rockets would get McCollum, Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, James Johnson, a 2022 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick; and the Mavericks would receive PJ Tucker and a 2024 first-round pick.
If the suggested three-way blockbuster deal pushes through, Gunn believes that it would benefit all the teams involved.
“Johnson and Tucker are both expiring contracts, but Tucker is at the stage in his career where he wants to be on a contender, so Dallas only makes this trade if we can get an indication from him that he intends to stick around. Trading Johnson to Houston prevents Portland from having to include another large contract to make the contracts work. This would be a good trade for Portland because Harden would be an upgrade from McCollum. A backcourt of Dame and Harden would be nearly impossible to guard.”
For the Rockets, the potential trade would give them the return that they are expecting for “The Beard,” which is a package that contains an All-Star-caliber player, young prospects, and draft assets. McCollum would be an intriguing addition to the Rockets. He may not be as good as Harden, but he could fill the huge hole left on the offensive end of the floor.
With his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity, he would fit in alongside a ball-dominant guard like John Wall in Houston’s backcourt. If he builds good chemistry with Wall, Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins, and Danuel House Jr., the Rockets would have a realistic chance of making a big impact in the 2020-21 NBA season.
Meanwhile, the proposed scenario would undeniably be a huge gamble for the Trail Blazers. However, it’s the type of move that they could make to get out of a mediocre place. Though he’s older, Harden is no doubt a bigger star than McCollum. It would still take time for him and Damian Lillard to mesh well on the court, but once they find the right chemistry, their backcourt duo would be nearly impossible to guard — and the Trail Blazers could become a more dangerous team on the offensive end of the floor.