After months of rumors, James Harden is joining an already-loaded Brooklyn Nets roster after the team agreed to a blockbuster four-way trade with the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Nets are sending the Rockets Caris LeVert and four unprotected first-round draft picks as part of the trade.
Houston lands star guard Victor Oladipo along with the four draft selections and pick swaps in exchange for Harden. Through nine games, Harden is averaging 24.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 10.4 assists while shooting 34.7 percent from the three-point line. The move comes less than 24 hours after Harden appeared to give a brief farewell address to Houston noting the Rockets are “just not good enough.”
“[The Rockets are] just not good enough,” Harden said, per USA Today. “I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
Here is an updated look at the Nets projected starting lineup, depth chart and roster with Harden.
Nets Roster & Starting Lineup With James Harden
C: DeAndre Jordan, Nicolas Claxton
PF: Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Reggie Perry
SF: James Harden, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
SG: Joe Harris, Landry Shamet, Bruce Brown
PG: Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Tyler Johnson, Chris Chiozza
Harden Trade Details: Nets, Rockets, Pacers & Cavs Four-Way Deal
The Harden trade involves four teams, seven players, five draft selections and four potential pick swaps. Here is a look at the full trade details and what each team will receive in the deal, per Charania.
Rockets: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, three Nets first-rounders (2022, 2024 and 2026), one Bucks 2022 first-round pick (unprotected) and four 1st-round pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027)
Nets: James Harden
Pacers: Caris LeVert, 2nd-rounder
Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
The Move Reunites Durant & Harden
The blockbuster deal reunites Durant and Harden together to form a new big three with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. Durant and Harden began their careers together with the Thunder before he was traded to the Rockets in 2012. The Nets star previously denied having anything to do with pushing for a trade for Harden.
“I don’t think about James Harden at all,” Durant noted in December 2020, per Forbes. “I mean, he doesn’t play on our team.”
Harden’s Preference Was to Play With Durant in Brooklyn
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Harden was pushing for a trade to the Nets to once again play with Durant. It will be interesting to see how the Harden deal will impact Irving’s relationship with the Nets as the All-Star has been on personal leave from the team.
“Brooklyn has granted James Harden’s wish to be reunited with Kevin Durant with the Nets,” Wojnarowski noted on Twitter. “Huge haul for the Rockets, but the Nets were determined to get another All-NBA player in his prime — and get him with Harden. KD, Harden … and Kyrie Irving.”
According to The Athletic, the Rockets also explored trades with the Sixers, Celtics and Raptors before finally agreeing to a deal with the Nets. The potential trade with the 76ers centered around Ben Simmons with the Rockets also asking for Matisse Thybulle.
Ultimately, the Rockets opted for an unprecedented package of picks along with Oladipo instead of the other available deals. Wojnarowski called the Rockets’ return “one of the strongest draft packages in league history.”
“Houston GM’s Rafael Stone’s return of picks — including four unprotected first and four unprotected pick swaps — is one of the strongest draft packages in league history,” Wojnarowski tweeted. “Oladipo’s on an expiring contract and Rockets can make a decision on moving forward with him.”