After months of drama and frustration, All-Star shooting guard James Harden has finally parted ways with the Houston Rockets. According to ESPN, the Rockets agreed to send “The Beard” to the Brooklyn Nets in a multiplayer, four-team blockbuster deal involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers.
“The Rockets have sent James Harden to the Nets in a blockbuster four-team trade that also involves the Pacers and Cavaliers, completing the unhappy star’s exit from Houston and setting up a potential superteam in Brooklyn, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. The Nets sent Houston a package that includes multiple players and draft picks and features guard Caris LeVert, who was then traded to the Pacers for Victor Oladipo, sources told ESPN. Center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince are headed from the Nets to the Cavs in the deal, sources told ESPN, while the Rockets receive Cleveland guard Dante Exum and Brooklyn forward Rodions Kurucs.”
The Rockets got a huge haul for Harden. Aside from the players mentioned above, they also received the Nets’ unprotected first-round selections in 2022, 2024, and 2026, as well as the rights to swap picks in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027. They also obtained a 2022 first-rounder from the Cavaliers and a future second-round pick from the Pacers.
It’s no longer a surprise that the Nets decided to go all-in for Harden. Since the successful acquisition of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn had been active on the market searching for a third superstar. When Harden publicly demanded a trade from the Rockets, they immediately became one of his top landing spots.
The arrival of Harden could force Irving and Durant to make certain adjustments with their performance, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Like “Uncle Drew” and “KD,” the three-time scoring leader also needs the ball in his hands to excel on the court. It would definitely take time for them to find the perfect chemistry but once they mesh well on the court, the Nets’ offense would be unstoppable.
Meanwhile, the Pacers and the Cavaliers also reaped great benefits from helping the Rockets and the Nets facilitate a successful Harden trade. For the Pacers, the four-team blockbuster deal allowed them to turn Oladipo’s expiring contract into a promising player that fits the timeline of their core of Malcolm Brogdon, TJ Warren, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner. LeVert may not have the opportunity to immediately become the Pacers’ main guy but compared to the Nets, he’s expected to receive more playing time, a guaranteed spot in the starting lineup, and a significant role on the offensive end in Indiana.
For the Cavaliers, the blockbuster trade enabled them to turn Dante Exum and a future first-rounder into a young and promising big man in Allen and a defensive-minded veteran wingman in Prince. Though his acquisition would create a logjam in the Cavaliers’ frontcourt that already features Andre Drummond, JaVale McGee, Kevin Love, and Larry Nance Jr., Allen would still be an interesting addition to Cleveland. At 22, he could also potentially be a key part of their young core.