Coming into the start of NBA training camp it was clear that the Houston Rockets were heading towards a rebuild and they wanted it to be centered around nine-time All-Star James Harden. While the thought was flattering, Harden wanted no part of it and made it clear to the Rockets’ front office that he wanted to be traded.
Houston played hard to get with all the teams that were interested in acquiring the reigning NBA scoring champion and made it clear that it was going to take a godfather-like deal for them to part ways with their star.
Playing hard to get became increasingly difficult once Harden made his disdain with the organization public after the Rockets’ blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in January. The next day he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
This ended up being a huge mistake for the Rockets.
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Rockets Basically Got Nothing for James Harden
When the trade was made official on January 14 the full haul that the Rockets received for moving Harden was Victor Oladipo, Rodions Kurucs, Dante Exum, four unprotected first-round picks (Brooklyn 2022, 2024 and 2026, Milwaukee 2022), and four unprotected first-round pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027).
The Rockets had originally received budding star Caris LeVert from Brooklyn but traded him to Indiana for Oladipo.
Now, after the trade deadline, that haul looks a lot less appealing. What they really received was four first-round picks, five first-round pick swaps, Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, who they lost in the PJ Tucker trade, and Oladipo on a rental as he only played in 20 games before being traded to the Miami Heat on Thursday.
Once the internet saw the true value of what the Rockets received in that trade for Harden, they roasted Houston for receiving such a minuscule package for a generational talent like ‘The Beard’.
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The Nets Struck Out at the Trade Deadline
The Nets, who were expected to be active buyers leading up to the trade deadline were quiet as a church mouse on Thursday. What seemed like a promising day on many fronts for Nets General Manager Sean Marks and Brooklyn’s front office turned out to be a complete dud.
Sharpshooter JJ Redick was expected to reach a buyout with the New Orleans Pelicans and sign with the Brooklyn Nets once he cleared waivers. Redick ended up being traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday and is expected to remain with the team at least for the rest of the season.
JaVale McGee who was another name on the Nets radar, was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Denver Nuggets to be the backup center for Most Valuable Player candidate Nikola Jokic.
Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge were two names that were associated with the Nets at the deadline but neither the Detroit Pistons nor San Antonio Spurs were able to find a trade that appeased them. The two star big men will be bought out by their respective teams.
The biggest win for the Nets at the trade deadline was that they did not have to part ways with their rising star Spencer Dinwiddie who is recovering from a partially torn ACL. Dinwiddie still has not ruled out a return for this season.