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Rumor: James Harden targets Nets debut

Nets, Lakers, James Harden Trade, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

James Harden was granted his wish of being traded by the Houston Rockets as he now makes his way to the Brooklyn Nets. While he prepares to contribute for his new team, the Nets are targeting Saturday against the Orlando Magic as his debut with the organization, per The Association’s Anthony Puccio.

Before Harden can take the court with the Nets, he will need to produce the required number of negative COVID-19 tests. If he doesn’t have a positive test between now and Saturday, then Brooklyn expects him to be in the starting lineup against the Magic.

On Tuesday, Harden and the Rockets were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers by a wide margin, prompting Harden to comment on his status with Houston. His comments led the Rockets to expedite trade talks.

It was discovered that Houston wanted a package involving Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, and perhaps even Matisse Thybulle as well — besides an assortment of first-round picks — for Harden. With Philadelphia being reluctant on that front, the Rockets dealt Harden to the Nets in a massive four-team trade.

The addition of Harden gives Brooklyn a dynamic trio with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, though the bench is now thinned out with the season-ending injury to Spencer Dinwiddie, plus trading Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Taurean Prince.

Most people believe the Nets are now the favorite to be crowned Eastern Conference champions after acquiring Harden. Fans in Brooklyn will likely get their first chance of seeing James Harden in uniform on Saturday versus Orlando, but Irving isn’t expected to be back with the team just yet.