James Harden’s Rockets career is over.
On the heels of his postgame presser on Tuesday when he told reporters that the situation in Houston is unfixable, the former MVP has now been traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal, according to ESPN.
Reporting with @RamonaShelburne: Brooklyn is acquiring Houston’s James Harden in a blockbuster deal, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 13, 2021
This is how James Harden walked off the podium tonight. It sounded like a farewell pic.twitter.com/fnY2h6dnHP
— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) January 13, 2021
Take a seat, because this is a bit complex. According to The Athletic, Harden was dealt as part of a three way deal, with Brooklyn sending Caris LeVert, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, four first round picks – including Cavs’ 2022 first via Bucks — and four Nets pick swaps to the Rockets. The Nets are sending Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to Cavs. Then, the Rockets are sending LeVert to the Pacers, in exchange for two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo. To recap:
Nets get: James Harden
Rockets get: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, four first rounders and four pick swaps
Pacers get: Caris LeVert, second-round pick
Cavs get: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
The Nets are dealing with their own star drama in Kyrie Irving’s mysterious absence. The Kyrie uncertainty reportedly played a part in the Nets willingness to go all on in Harden.
The time to move on was now, as Harden’s current teammates were becoming fed up with his behavior that has now affected his production on the court. Though Harden showed up to the Rockets clearly out of shape, he averaged 37 points and 11 assists in the first three games. Since then his effort has noticeably waned. He’s averaged 17.4 points and 10 assists in the past five games while shooting just 37.8 percent overall and 25.6 percent from 3-point range.
DeMarcus Cousins, who was signed to this offseason to play with Harden, was done with the antics.
“Obviously, it’s disrespectful,” Cousins said of Harden’s behavior before the trade. “But everybody has a right to their opinion. we feel a certain way about some of his actions. this is a nasty part of the biz that gets swept under the rug, you deal with these things.
“My interest is to play with John Wall, to be brutally honest. …The (Harden) disrespect started way before. This isn’t something that, you know, all of a sudden started last night. …It’s completely unfair to the rest of the guys in the locker room.”