In a four-way deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn sent Caris LeVert, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, four first round picks — including the Cavs’ 2022 first-round pick via the Milwaukee Bucks — and four pick swaps to the Rockets. Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince were sent to Cleveland. LeVert was then flipped by Houston for Victor Oladipo of the Pacers.
To many, the deal is reminiscent of the 2013 trade between the Nets and Boston Celtics when Brooklyn acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, among others, for three unprotected first-round picks and a pick swap that ultimately helped the Celtics land James Young, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum after another swap, and the Collin Sexton pick they traded for Kyrie Irving.
Harden was not quiet about his desire to leave the Rockets, with potential trade talks starting before the 2020-21 season. He did not report to camp and missed several practices. On Tuesday night following a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Harden’s postgame interview demonstrated his displeasure with the organization and signaled he wanted out.
The trade was finalized after the Rockets elected to keep Harden away from Wednesday’s practice.
Still, the Eastern Conference got stronger by adding the former MVP (2018), as do the Nets. The six-time All-NBA First Team player (2014, 2015, 2017-2020) and three-time NBA scoring champion (2018-2020) has a career average of 25.2 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, and 6.3 assists per game over his 12 seasons in the NBA.
The addition of Harden to a lineup that already includes Durant and Irving will certainly put the league on notice, as the team’s odds to win the Championship improved after the acquisition.
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