According to the Rockets’ newly promoted general manager Rafael Stone, The Beard’s tenure in Texas is far from over, as the organization plans to “run it back” with Harden for at least another season. But like any other franchise going through a structural overhaul, they remain inclined to listen to offers for their cornerstone player.
This is a “just-in-case” approach, insofar as Harden is to take the matter into his own hands and force his way out of the organization he’s been with for the past eight years. If he chooses to push to play elsewhere before his contract expires, one team, in particular, is gaining traction as the most likely landing spot for one of the NBA’s best bucket-getters.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, ‘the Nets are believed to be considering the viability of a deal for Harden, but it is unclear how far the franchise would go in delivering Houston the assets it might require in return.’ It’s been reported that the monstrous return will be required for the Nets to acquire Harden, including players, draft picks, and draft swaps.
Brooklyn has two borderline All-Star guards on the roster in Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert and several more intriguing young players, including the likes of Jarret Allen. They also have all of their future firsts and the 19th pick in the upcoming NBA draft, meaning they are in a position to match Houston’s demands for their superstar player.
As reported, the trade talks are player-driven, as the seeds for the possible Harden-Durant reunion were planted while the two were working out together in LA. But it shouldn’t diminish the likelihood of it taking place, especially since Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joining forces in Brooklyn had the same modus operandi behind-the-scenes.
Fit-wise, this would be an experiment, to say the least. However, ESPN’s sources said that that was also a topic of discussion among the players involved, meaning they’re conscious about the level of adjustment each of them would have to make to ‘figure it out.’ If the consensus is they would be able to make the sacrifices needed, the NBA might witness another iteration of the Big Three. And this one would once again reshape the relatively balanced landscape that was a one-year stretch without the clear cut favorite to win it all.