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James Harden, Rockets

1 trade the Rockets could not refuse to send James Harden to the Nets

There have been several trade rumors swirling around the Houston Rockets as we loom closer and closer to the 2020 NBA Draft.

One of the trades that was rumored apparently had the Rockets sending James Harden to the Nets where he would join Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. Although it may have only been a rumor, there could be some validity to the Rockets trying to trade Harden. The Nets probably just weren’t offering the assets necessary to acquire the leagues scoring champion.

This got me thinking, is there a trade that the Rockets simply could not refuse? After some research and some trial and error, I have come up with a trade that the Rockets simply could not say no to.

Nets receive: James Harden

Rockets receive: Spencer Dinwiddie, Deandre Jordan, Caris LeVert, Garrett Temple, Dzanan Musa, Nicolas Claxton, and four 1st-round picks (2020, 2022, 2024, 2026).

This may seem like an excessive return for Harden, but this is probably what it’s going to take to get the Rockets to trade their superstar shooting guard.

The Rockets will most likely trade Russell Westbrook after this trade as well for more young players and draft picks and gear up for the future.

Why would they say yes to this trade?

The Rockets have been competitive over the last few years, but haven’t been successful in the playoffs. The high-octane, run and gun offense just hasn’t worked in the postseason. The Rockets took their shots, but ultimately, failed to turn Harden’s prime years into championships. They decide to reboot it with some young prospects and draft picks.

Caris LeVert is a very talented playmaking guard who can score with the best of them. His trajectory shows him dramatically improving year after year. Running the show as a team’s top scoring option, LeVert has the potential to be a star.

Dinwiddie has been playing like an all-star over the last few years in Brooklyn and would be a really nice piece to get in return as well. He would be a nice interim piece to put people in the seats during the Rockets rebuild. Nicolas Claxton and Deandre Jordan also give the Rockets rebounding and rim protection, while Dzanan Musa would take the role as a reliable bench scoring option.

Getting four first round picks up until 2026 also ensures that the Rockets will be getting at least two first round picks even after Irving and Durant’s contracts are up (both contracts are up in 2023).

The Rockets receive two all-star caliber players, a few foundational pieces, and immense draft capital in return for Harden. If they were ever to trade The Beard, this is optimal return.

Should the Nets make this trade?

Personally, I think that this is an excellent deal for the Nets. Yes, they mortgage their future, but they create potentially the best big three in NBA history. Even with all of those pieces off to Houston, the Nets are still able to keep Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Joe Harris, Wilson Chandler, Jamal Crawford, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. All really nice bench pieces.

Here is a potential starting lineup for the Nets:

PG: Kyrie Irving

SG: James Harden

SF: Joe Harris

PF: Kevin Durant

C: Jarrett Allen

Bench 1: Taurean Prince

Bench 2: Jamal Crawford

Bench 3: Wilson Chandler

Bench 4: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

That is easily the best 9-man rotation in the NBA with an insane amount of offensive firepower.

The Nets are in win-now mode even without Harden. Adding Harden turns their team from contenders to eventual Champions. Even with this trade, the Nets still have a good enough bench to make an impact.

This trade leaves optimal outcomes for both sides. The Rockets get an appropriate return for James Harden and gear up for the future. Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Nicolas Claxton make up a good foundation for the Rockets’ future. The Nets add James Harden, creating one of the best big three’s in NBA history.

It’s a win-win, and it would change the NBA landscape drastically.