Is James Harden really going to be traded?
And so the James Harden saga continues, as NBA fans anxiously await on whether or not the Houston Rockets will finally pull the plug and trade the two-time league MVP in the upcoming days.
With the NBA season set to tip-off December 22nd, fans around the league are curious after months of drama whether or not all-star shooting-guard but really point-guard James Harden will be in a Rockets uniform come their first regular season game against the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC).
The disgruntled James Harden seemed to have made it clear that he would like to be traded from Houston and join a new team, specifically the Brooklyn Nets or the Philadelphia 76ers.
While the Miami Heat were initially in the running, it appears that Pat Riley & the franchise have pulled out of negotiations as of today.
Can James Harden get his Christmas wish and be traded?
Harden’s history with H-Town
Arizona State University’s James Harden was drafted third overall in the 2009 NBA draft by OKC.
It was there where Harden joined a dynamic core that featured Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook, where the Thunder even made the 2012 NBA Finals while ultimately losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Once Harden developed to the All-Star level, OKC was forced to trade the future MVP in the summer of 2012 after failing to agree on a new contract. Harden was dealt to the Houston Rockets, viewed by the franchise as a “centerpiece” for the team in which they could build around for years to come.
At Houston, Harden would go on to earn the award of league MVP in the 2017-2018 season, a year where he would also take his team to the Western Conference Finals but would go on to lose to the Golden State Warriors.
The franchise tried to switch up the team’s chemistry and offensive scheming on multiple occasions, bringing in several coaches during Harden’s tenure as well as a variety of elite level-players, including Chris Paul & Russell Westbrook during his Houston stint.
Sadly for Harden, his personal, as well as his team’s playoff shortcomings became all too familiar in “the bearded one’s” eight-season tenure with the team, making this once great Houston Rocket a future crash-landing in the franchise’s aspirations.
James Harden’s off-season antics
James Harden opted to not show up to the Rockets’ Dec 3rd voluntary workouts, a team-related practice that is important for team leaders to make an appearance to set a tone for the rest of the players, even if it’s not mandatory.
Harden’s unhappiness with the Rockets franchise was also made apparent when the All-Star was spotted at a strip club later that week, opting to not wear a mask in a photo that was made public.
This incident forced the Rockets to put Harden through their COVID-related protocols.
Harden would go on to eventually show up and make his pre-season debut in perhaps one of the more unflattering photos of the year that made fans second guess the disgruntled superstar’s physical shape.
Now, with the regular season looming, Houston needs to move Harden so they can be rid of this elephant in the room no fat jokes here.
So where could Houston send him ASAP that would give them the best return-on-investment? After all, five one-carat diamonds are NOT equal to one five-carat diamond . . .
The Brooklyn Nets
It’s been made vocal that the Brooklyn Nets are James Harden’s number one team of choice to be traded to, as he would be reunited with superstar Kevin Durant, who’s won two championships in his own right with the Golden State Warriors, and all-star point guard Kyrie Irving, who’s also won a championship with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s championship pedigree that Harden desires, and Brooklyn seems to be the best way to get it.
While Brooklyn seems to be in on the idea of bringing in Harden, they’re not interested in moving either Durant or Irving to do so. Their only shot at getting Harden would be to give up several first-round draft picks as well as an embarrassment of roll-players, most likely a package of both Spencer Dinwiddie & Caris LeVert.
The Philadelphia 76ers
Harden’s second spot on his holiday “wish-list” feels more likely of the two trade scenarios.
The 76ers currently have two rising superstars on their roster in Ben Simmons & Joel Embiid. The issue? They have had multiple playoff runs to prove their overall chemistry and have seemingly failed to make much of it.
It feels time for Philly to move off one of these two players, and getting a James Harden-level player in return seems like the best deal ever. With Harden being a guard, Philly would likely trade Simmons to Houston in the deal, giving the Rockets a young superstar with whom they could try and reset the storied franchise.
Meanwhile, Harden & Embiid if the big man can stay healthy should be a lethal dynamic duo in the Eastern Conference with the potential to beat anybody.
Do you think James Harden will get traded from Houston before the start of the regular season? And if so, what team do you think he will get traded to? Let us know in the comments below.