The Los Angeles Clippers got a hard-earned victory over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, led by the dual efforts of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The attention all day, however, was surrounding James Harden and the four-team blockbuster trade involving the Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Harden's addition to Brooklyn to play alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving is expected to vault them into serious championship contention with LeBron James' Lakers and Paul George's Clippers.
After the Clippers' win, George was asked about the trade that sent James Harden to the Nets, Caris LeVert to the Pacers, and Victor Oladipo to the Rockets.
“That ain't got nothing to do with us,” George responded swiftly.
“That ain’t got nothing to do with us.”
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 14, 2021
To no one's surprise, George remains locked in on the Clippers and taking every day at a time. Not surprisingly, LeBron James had a very similar answer when he was asked about the Harden trade early in the day.
“I don't have too much of a reaction,' James said. “Trades happened today and I couldn't allow myself to indulge in that knowing that we had a game that we had to play tonight.”
"Trades happened today and I couldn't allow myself to indulge in that knowing that we had a game that we had to play tonight."
LeBron James remained locked in on the Lakers' mission after the James Harden trade. 😤
— LakeShow (@LakeShowCP) January 14, 2021
The Nets and Rockets had been in talks since prior to the start of the 2020-21 season, when Harden's trade request initially went public through the media. Brooklyn was his top choice, but Harden reportedly started adding more teams to that list, including the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat, among others.
Those teams, however, quickly found that Houston's asking price would be astronomical and not worth gutting their own championship-caliber rosters over.
The last straw came when Harden took a jab at his teammates in his postgame press conference on Tuesday and reiterated his desire to be traded from the Rockets.
“[We're] just not good enough … I love this city and I've literally have done everything that I can. This situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
"[We're] just not good enough … I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed."
James Harden on the current Rockets 😳pic.twitter.com/F0yY5EipD6
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 13, 2021
If things fall into place, there's a real chance the LA Clippers and Brooklyn Nets meet in the NBA Finals. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. The star power in that series alone would make for incredibly entertaining television.
As George said, both teams are still far away from a playoff series against one another, and so the focus remains on the day-to-day journey toward the NBA Finals.