Fantasy basketball: Winners and losers in James Harden trade

Josh Lloyd
·4-min read
James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, pictured here in action in the NBA.
James Harden will link up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. Image: Getty

Well, a massive NBA trade went down today. I’m sure you’ve heard about it.

The Brooklyn Nets acquired James Harden. All it took was three unprotected first-round picks, four unprotected first-round pick swaps, Caris LeVert, Rodions Kurucs, Jarrett Allen, and Taurean Prince.

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But, it wasn’t only the Rockets getting in on the action. Let’s break it down.

Brooklyn Gets: James Harden

Houston Gets: Four first-round picks, four first-round pick swaps, Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs.

Indiana Gets: Caris LeVert, second-round pick.

Cleveland Gets: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

That sure is a lot to process. Let’s take a look team by team:

Brooklyn Nets

Getting a high-usage ball-handler like James Harden is going to impact several Nets players.

Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant are all set to lose some shot attempts, not a huge amount, not enough to matter, as well as losing assist opportunities.

You can only get assists if you have the ball in your hands and the ball will be shared between these three. I doubt Steve Nash goes any time without at least two of these guys on the court and not a second without one there.

So, given default points leagues have an emphasis on usage and scoring, it’s possible all three of Durant, Irving (when he is back), and Harden loses some value.

But, given the Nets lost their starting centre, DeAndre Jordan is back in the mix as an add. He was out of the rotation entirely last game, but you would imagine he becomes the new starter, at least until Nic Claxton can get healthy and potentially challenge.

They could also play small with Jeff Green at centre, and Green should see a bump in minutes with no Allen or Prince.

It’s bad news for Joe Harris, who loses usage, as does Bruce Brown, who did a great job starting for Kyrie Irving last game.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets just slide Victor Oladipo into James Harden’s starting spot.

Oladipo isn’t as high-usage or ball-dominant as Harden, so extra shots will go to John Wall, Christian Wood, and Eric Gordon, with Wall seeing a considerable rise in his assist rate.

Oladipo’s value should hold fairly steady, while Wood, Wall, and Gordon rise.

Kurucs and Exum won’t be factors in Houston.

Victor Oladipo, pictured here in action for the Indiana Pacers.
Victor Oladipo in action for the Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Indiana Pacers

Caris LeVert should just slide straight into Oladipo’s role, starting alongside Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner and one of the Holiday brothers until TJ Warren returns.

LeVert was coming off the bench in Brooklyn, but that likely won’t happen here.

LeVert will lose some usage, given he had the second unit to himself with the Nets, but that should be offset with an increase in minutes.

I’m not sure there is much impact on Sabonis, Turner or Brogdon, but it could mean Aaron Holiday starts over Justin, as LeVert has the size to guard threes, wheres Oladipo didn’t really.

Regardless, the Holidays aren’t 12 team options, but LeVert sure is.

Cleveland Cavaliers

This is a confusing one. I would argue Jarrett Allen is a better player than Andre Drummond right now, but I doubt the Cavs start him.

Drummond is likely to be traded at some point, but for now, Allen and Drummond are going to lose a lot of value for fantasy. I wouldn’t drop them, but it’s a situation to monitor.

I also think it’s bad news for Larry Nance long term.

There will be no minutes for him at centre and when Kevin Love is back, plus Prince being there, the power forward minutes could be squished.

I’m not adding Prince, who will likely be a backup behind Isaac Okoro and Nance, while I do think Love’s overall value takes a hit here whenever he is back.

So, it’s all very fresh, and things could change, but the big winner appears to be DeAndre Jordan, while Jarrett Allen and Andre Drummond are the big losers, with Harden, Irving, Durant all suffering some hits, and Wall, Wood, Oladipo, and LeVert having some gains.