The NBA has been rocked by two massive trades, headlined by former MVP James Harden joining Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the Brooklyn Nets.
Social media went into meltdown when it was reported Harden would join the superstar Nets, with the Houston Rockets acquiring Caris Levert and a total of eight draft picks - four first round selections and four pick swaps - for the two-time scorning champion.
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The bombshell trades kept on coming, with the Rockets immediately trading Levert to the Indiana Pacers for shooting guard Victor Oladipo.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were also involved in the deal, picking up Brooklyn centre Jarrett Allen and guard Taurean Prince, while Australian guard Dante Exum was also moved to the Rockets.
The move ends speculation over Harden’s future, after the former Rockets superstar demanded a trade prior to the season starting in December.
Months of speculation had also seen the Philadelphia 76ers involved in trade rumours, but Brooklyn’s huge move to send away years worth of draft picks to form a core of Harden, Durant and Irving is a championship or bust move.
Twitter practically exploded when the series of trades was reported in quick succession by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Reporting w/ @RamonaShelburne: Brooklyn’s acquiring James Harden in a three-way deal with Cleveland. Caris LeVert, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, four 1st round picks – including Cavs’ 2022 first via Bucks -- and 4 Nets pick swaps to Rockets. Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince to Cavs. https://t.co/qM0ZDH4dH3
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 13, 2021
Sources: Full current trade:
Rockets: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, 3 BKN first-rounders (22, 24, 26), 1 MIL first (22, unprotected), 4 BKN 1st round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27)
Nets: James Harden
Pacers: Caris LeVert, 2nd-rounder
Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2021
Harden gets exactly what he wanted—a deal to Brooklyn, to play alongside Kevin Durant. Will the chemistry of KD, Harden and Kyrie mesh? Buckle up.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) January 13, 2021
When KD found out the Nets traded for Harden pic.twitter.com/EXPF4uvluU
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) January 13, 2021
The Rockets end up landing a whopper of a deal from the Nets to top what Philadelphia or anyone else pitched for James Harden ... landing Victor Oladipo, four future first-rounders and four first-round picks swaps in a four-team deal that ultimately involves Indiana and Cleveland https://t.co/uROzHTDQfV
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 13, 2021
…. yeah, I’m in on this Houston team, I think.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) January 13, 2021
Houston Rockets trade James Harden to Brooklyn Nets
The addition of Washington’s John Wall and free-agent acquisition Christian Wood did nothing to dissuade Harden from wanting off a Rockets organization that has helped him transform into a superstar over the past eight seasons. He took a torch to the franchise in what was essentially a trade demand on Tuesday night.
“We’re just not good enough — obviously, chemistry, talent-wise, just everything — and it was clear these last few games,” Harden told reporters following a fifth straight subpar effort that has resulted in a 1-4 stretch.
He finished his stunning press availability by saying, “I love this city. I’ve literally done everything that I can. I mean, this situation, it’s crazy. It's something that I don’t think can be fixed, so, yeah, thanks.”
Both Wall and All-Star reclamation project DeMarcus Cousins publicly castigated their erstwhile teammate.
“When you have certain guys in the mix that don't want to buy in all as one, it's going to be hard to do anything special or anything good as a basketball team,” Wall told reporters following Harden’s interview.
Added Cousins on Wednesday: “The disrespect started way before any interview.”
Harden’s preseason was arguably more of a public relations nightmare. He arrived late to training camp in favor of partying with rapper Lil Baby in Atlanta and Las Vegas.
His violations of NBA COVID-19 protocols further delayed his ability to rejoin the team.
With Yahoo Sport US/Ben Rohrbach
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