Possible James Harden Landing Spots

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    As of 12:00 PM, Monday 16th, NBA teams were open to start negotiating and sending trades through. This riled up NBA trade rumors as it usually does, but this year there is a special player wishing to leave his franchise.

    This player is James Harden, a hefty scorer, MVP, and runner-up for the same award three separate times. It is safe to say James led the Rockets for years with his impeccable scoring. He put up 30+ PPG (points per game) for the past three years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. 

    But as Harden’s prime is still in full effect, he wishes to distance himself from the imploding Rockets. He released the statement following Russell Westbrook releasing a similar statement and long-time Rockets GM Daryl Morey leaving for a front office job in Philadelphia. This leaves Houston with a first year head coach and GM and no superstars.

    James Harden stated he would prefer the rockets trade him to either the Brooklyn Nets, or the Philadelphia 76ers. Though he only states these teams, the team will listen to other offers as they go into a full rebuild. 

    Brooklyn Nets:

    The Offer: 

    Brooklyn Nets: Caris LeVert, Jarret Allen, Garret Temple, Spencer Dinwiddie, Pick 19, 2021 First Round Pick

    Houston Rockets: James Harden

    Why the Nets say yes: The Nets would become instant Eastern Conference favorites and most likely favorites for the championship. It was also rumored that Kevin Durant and James Harden spoke about playing together and this would fulfill their star’s wishes.

    Why the Rockets say yes: The Rockets would enter a rebuild while still having decent pieces to go forward with. They would also reload on some much needed draft capital. It will be hard to beat this offer as Harden’s value dropped dramatically after he demanded to be traded. 

    Philadelphia 76ers: 

    The Offer:

    Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, Shake Milton, Pick 21, Pick 34, Pick 36, 2022 First Round Pick

    Houston Rockets: James Harden

    Why the 76ers say yes: The Sixers need two things this offseason, shooting and playmaking. Ben Simmons can move the ball but he is too big to play at point guard as we saw last season. James Harden is a perfect candidate for all of the Sixers’ issues with shooting and playmaking, and with Daryl Morey in the front office anything is possible. 

    Why the Rockets say yes: The Rockets would get a win-now player in Tobias Harris and several young pieces in Matisse and Shake. This trade would also bolster their draft capital and set up a brighter future. The picks are important because Houston is not a free agent destination anymore, so they will have to build out of the draft to be successful again. 

    Denver Nuggets:

    The Offer: 

    Denver Nuggets: Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris, Mason Plumlee, 2021 First Round Pick

    Houston Rockets: James Harden

    Why the Nuggets say yes: The Nuggets came back from two 3-1 deficits in last year’s playoffs so their playmaking duo of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic obviously works. They need a push to get them over the top. That push would be James Harden. 

    Why the Rockets say yes: I’m a little more hesitant to say the Rockets like this trade, but if they see Porter Jr. as a valuable young player to build around then they may take the offer. Porter is the most talented young star they could trade for other than Ben Simmons, who the Sixers are reluctant to include in talks based on recent reports. 

    New York Knicks

    The Offer: 

    New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Julius Randle, Pick 8, 2 2021 First Round Picks, 2022 First Round Pick, 2023 First Round Pick, 2025 First Round Pick

    Houston Rockets: James Harden, Russell Westbrook

    Why the Knicks say yes: Sure, it depletes their draft capital for the foreseeable future, but the Knicks have not been able to create a good basketball product since Carmelo Anthony, and even then they weren’t true contenders. The Paul Geroge Trade took five first round picks and swaps. Otherwise, James Harden and Russell Westbrook would thrive in one of the largest markets in the NBA. 

    Why the Rockets say yes: This is a longshot, but they would have seven new first round picks and that could set them up for success later as they will not be able to compete for a while with their stars leaving. R.J. Barrett is a great young player that may blossom in a new environment, so this trade is always possible, yet improbable. 

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