The reason Rockets took Nets’ James Harden trade offer
The NBA was shaken by the four-team trade that took place this past week, as James Harden landed with the Brooklyn Nets to play alongside his former teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The deal ended a lengthy saga with the Houston Rockets after Harden asked for a trade prior to the season. While it took a little while for the right trade to materialize, Rockets general manager Rafael Stone finally pulled the trigger.
Houston reportedly had discussion with a number of teams about a trade, but the two finalists were the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. In a press conference on Sunday, Stone talked about why he took Brooklyn’s trade offer:
Rockets GM Rafael Stone on why the Nets offer was the one he chose: "What's super exciting about this deal is that it gives us flexibility. In the NBA, picks are the best currency. Everybody likes them, everybody values them."
He then mentioned Victor Oladipo.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 17, 2021
Ben Simmons was reportedly on the table in trade talks with the Sixers. The Rockets went in another direction, though, and there were some rumblings about owner Tilman Fertitta not wanting to trade Harden to Philly. Whether that’s true or not, Houston had its reasons for not doing that deal.
The Rockets received three first-round draft picks — 2022, 2024, and 2026 — from the Nets, as well as pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025, 2027, according to ESPN. They also received a first-round draft pick in 2022 from the Cleveland Cavaliers. These draft picks will give Houston plenty of opportunities to strike gold in the future.
In addition to the picks, the Rockets received Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers, with Caris LeVert going to the Pacers as part of this deal. Oladipo has looked more like himself this season after struggling in his return from a knee injury last season, averaging 20.0 points along with 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in the nine games he played for the Pacers this season,
Oladipo’s explosiveness should complement the skill set of star point guard John Wall very well. With Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins in the paint, Houston is hoping to turn things around this season and get to the playoffs. There are still questions about Oladipo’s future given his status as a free agent in 2021, but the Rockets are hoping for the best.