To Trade or to not Trade: How Harden Going to the Nets Could or Couldn't be a Game-Changer
The biggest basketball question of the last few weeks has for sure been whether or not James Harden would go to the rising title contender, the Brooklyn Nets, or stay with his current team, Houston Rockets. There are pros and cons for both of these decisions, and all of them will be covered in this article.
In case you don’t know, James Harden is one of the best basketball players at the moment and instantly becomes a centerpiece of any team he joins. After a rocky performance by the Rockets in the playoffs this year and reported fights within the team, Harden has requested a trade from the Rockets. The team that he is most likely to join is the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn has for the last few years been assembling a super team headed with super-stars Kevin Durrant, arguably the best player in the league, and Kyrie Irving, one of the best ball handlers of all time. With the hypothetical addition of James Harden, it becomes apparent that they not only become the favorite to win the eastern conference but gives the Lakers, the overwhelming favorite team right now to win the finals, a good run for its money. This trio of 3 of the top 15 players at the moment would be a spectacle to watch for us and a horror to go up against for any other team, or at least that’s what the majority of people think.
While we as NBA fans would love to see the reunification of Harden and KD along with Harden teaming up with Kyrie for the first time, there are great odds going against it. For starters, Harden isn’t up to be a free agent until next season, meaning that he can’t just up and leave the rockets for the Nets, but instead has to be traded if he wants to play with the Nets. Sadly for Harden, the Rockets have zero interest in trading him, giving him an “empathic no” according to NBA insider Shams Charania. Let’s just (for the sake of the article) say that Hardens gets the Rockets to consider a trade for him to Brooklyn. If this were to happen, it would be realized quickly, after having given up an arm and a leg in order to acquire their current star duo, there would be almost no assets that would be equivalent to Harden for Brooklyn to trade. Now if we are to just skip over all the problems with the trade getting Harden to Brooklyn and assume that with some miraculous miracle Harden lands in the big apple, there are still some questions up in the air. It's long been acknowledged that Harden has been known as a very ball-dominant player and that play style often times gets criticized by some of his teammates he has played with. This could perhaps cause more issues between the potential trio which may well affect the chemistry between the players on the team. That is not to say that KD and kyrie are perfect players themselves, but just that the edition of James could have some unintended consequences to go along with it.
In addition, one must not assume that a super team in the east is going to simply have an easy go about getting to the finals. The Milwaukee Bucks of course have the back-to-back MVP, the Greek Freak, Giannis Antenakumpo, but they have recently acquired Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans, one of the most underrated players in the league at the moment, who can be a useful addition to their roster. Speaking of the Pelicans, they have also cultivated an assembly of young talent. Headed by a healthy, and therefore deadly, Zion Williams, the Pelicans can more than likely cruise to a playoff completion with their supporting class of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Steven Adams. Although they have gotten weaker, the Bostin Celtics headed by Jason Tatum may come into the rink with a vengeance after losing in the Eastern Conference finals last year to the Miami Heat. The Heat perhaps has the best chance of taking down the Nets with Jimmy Butler and his class of young padawans after being the underdogs in the playoffs last season but nevertheless climbing their way to the finals.
This is a time where the NBA has been becoming based around “super teams,” with talent concentrated in a few of the biggest metropolitan areas. Most of these super teams are out west, like AD and Lebron or Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. However, with the emergence of the nets in the east, there is now a new shiny hope that perhaps the east can once again cultivate enough talent to defeat the western giants. While some think they can already do it with the roster they have already assembled, some think that one more piece must be obtained before there are any prospects of a championship-winning team on the horizon. The key to this whole argument rests in whether in the next month or two Harden is acquired. As viewers, we must sadly just have to wait in agony for this trade to either fall through or turn into fruition a new era of basketball, which is something any supporter of any team would be interested In seeing.