Nets acquire James Harden from Rockets

NBA: Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers
Houston Rockets guard James Harden dribbles the ball between Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo and guard Malcolm Brogdon.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired All-Star guard James Harden in a trade with the Houston Rockets per multiple reports in a three-team trade.

In return, the Rockets will be receiving all four of the Nets’ future first-round draft picks and four draft swaps along with Caris LeVert, Dante Exum, and Rodions Kurucs while the Cleveland Cavaliers will get Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen.

LeVert was promptly traded from the Rockets to the Indiana Pacers for another package, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The deal transpired quickly after initial reports on Wednesday afternoon that the Rockets were “sifting through offers” from the Nets and the 76ers to acquire the eight-time All-Star and three-time-defending NBA scoring champion. 

Harden and the Nets had been linked in trade talks for months — the 31-year-old listing Brooklyn as a preferred trade destination back in November. 

Nine games into the season, though, it was clear that Harden had enough of the Rockets. Following a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night that dropped them to 3-6 on the season, the star went scorched earth the team he’s spent the last nine years with. 

“We’re just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise, everything,” he said. “I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. The situation is crazy, it’s something that I don’t think can be fixed. So, yeah. Thanks.”

Harden did not show up to Rockets practice on Wednesday where he would have been kept away from the team until a trade is made, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

An acquisition of Harden could not come at a better time for Brooklyn, though questions about team chemistry on the floor in the locker room will immediately arrive considering how things have deteriorated down in Houston and with the current state of the Nets.

Kyrie Irving remains out due to personal reasons having missed the last five games when including Wednesday night’s tilt against the Knicks. He was caught on social media at a family gathering in West Orange, New Jersey earlier this week without a mask, which is in direct violation of the NBA’s COVID protocols. 

The Nets have provided no specifics surrounding Irving’s absence and when asked if the 28-year-old will play at all this season, head coach Steve Nash simply answered, “sure.” Not exactly a confidence-inspiring answer for a team that has banked so much on a superstar duo of Irving and Kevin Durant. 

Harden reunites with Durant in Brooklyn after the two spent three seasons as teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He will take a considerable amount of pressure off Durant’s plate to turn the Nets organization around if Irving continues to miss games while Spencer Dinwiddie — the team’s third-best player — is out for the season with a partially torn ACL.

Should Irving return sooner rather than later, though, the Nets suddenly have one of the most imposing trios in all the NBA. Harden is under contract for two more seasons with a player option for the 2022-23 campaign. 

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.