James Harden is joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn
BIG THREE

James Harden is joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn

James Harden is probably switching to salads and hitting the gym as we speak – he got his wish and is going to Brooklyn. Woj reported a monster FOUR TEAM TRADE, so first order of business: let’s go over who got what. Here’s what the teams involved get.

  • Brooklyn Nets – James Harden (from Rockets), 2024 second-round pick from the Cavaliers
  • Houston Rockets – Victor Oladipo (from Pacers), Dante Exum (from Cavs), Rodions Kurucs (from Nets), Brooklyn’s three unprotected first-round draft picks — 2022, 2024, and 2026 — in the deal, plus pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027. Also, Cleveland’s 2022 first-round pick, via the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Indiana Pacers – Caris LeVert (from Rockets via Nets); 2023 second-round pick from the Rockets
  • Cleveland Cavaliers – Jarrett Allen (from Nets), Taurean Prince (from Nets)

Brooklyn Nets

This one is obvious, the Nets opted for top talent and sacrificed depth and their future. Literally all their future. Brooklyn traded away every possible first-round pick and swap. Think the KG-Pierce trade on steroids.

In addition, they traded LeVert, Allen, Prince, and Kurucs. Out of all these, I think losing Jarrett Allen will hurt the most, particularly on defense. With this trade, the Nets have three rosters spots to fill and a $5.7 million tax mid-level, the minimum exception, and likely a $5.7 million disabled player exception. They won’t get anyone of Allen’s caliber back, but reinforcements are to be expected. Here’s an important reminder. 

Houston Rockets

The Rockets decided that Ben Simmons and some assets is not as good of a package as Victor Oladipo, four first-round picks, four swaps, Kurucs, and Exum. We’ll never truly know what was the Ben Simmons package, and only time will tell which option is better – the last pick involved is in 2027. The interesting moment here is that the Rockets preferred Victor Oladipo to Caris LeVert. Both have injury history and a lot of potential IF they stay healthy.

This package gives the Rockets more flexibility. Keep in mind this is ultimately an owner’s decision. Tilman Fertitta‘s business was probably hit hardest by COVID 19 out of all NBA owners, and this kind of trade gives him a path to a cheap roster for a few years with a lot of potential when the economy bounces back. Oladipo is a free agent this summer, and you don’t have to pay draft picks anything.

Indiana Pacers

The Oladipo-Pacers relationship has been sour for a while now. After rehabbing his injury, Oladipo came back and didn’t play as well as he did before the injury, understandably so. But, he carried himself as he did.

There were reports of Oladipo talking to players from other teams asking them to trade for him, in front of Pacers teammates and staff. He than said he wouldn’t play in the bubble, then did a 180 and said he would. It was a mess.

This season, Oladipo is playing much better than last season. But the Pacers obviously decided they are more likely not to resign him to a huge contract he’s looking at this summer, mostly because there will be a lot of money and not a lot of (potential) stars on the market. Caris LeVert is younger, also has a lot of potential, and is under contract until ’22/’23 for good value – $18.7 million in ’22/’23

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs saw what the Pistons are doing and said “hold my beer.” Jarrett Allen is their fifth (5th) center on the roster now, joining JaVale McGee, Andre Drummond, Thon Maker, and Marques Bolden. The Cavs could have an all center lineup out there.

Jokes aside, Allen is a great get for the Cavs. They gave up a Milwaukee pick that will be at the end of the first round and a second-round pick. Allen is on the last year of his rookie-scale, so there are a few more years of team control left. There’s no way a player of this level would come to Cleveland of his free will. If Sexland continues to develop the way this year started, the two of them and Allen could become a very interesting nucleus for good basketball.