By Vared Shmuler (IV) and Cayden Barrison (IV)
On January 13th, the NBA community was shocked by one of the most remarkable trades in recent basketball history. The disgruntled James Harden was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets in a historic four-team trade. The Houston Rockets received four first-round picks, four pick swaps, Victor Oladipo, and two role players. The Indiana Pacers received the solid 26-year-old Caris Levert and a second-round selection. The Cleveland Cavaliers were able to obtain the 4th year center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince. However, this trade’s main focus was the 8x All-Star, 3x Scoring Champion, and former MVP James Harden. He reunites with former teammate and MVP Kevin Durant and 6x All-Star Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn to possibly create one of the best NBA trios in basketball history.
For a while, it had become apparent that James Harden was not satisfied with the Houston Rockets after years of playoff disappointment. In a recent attempt to satisfy the superstar, the Rockets’ general manager traded for the point guard and former All-Star, John Wall, but it was to no avail. Harden went as far as failing to attend practice and continuously criticizing the rest of the team for the Rockets’ misfortune. He made it very apparent that he had no intentions of continuing his career with the Houston organization. Nets general manager Sean Marks ultimately made the trade happen despite the massive haul in talent and draft capital required.
While this trade seems excellent on paper, it has caused some problems that the Nets will now have to deal with soon. With their newly acquired player, the Nets will now have three ball-dominant superstars in Brooklyn, which will end up granting fewer shots to each player. Having come from an offense built entirely around him for over eight years, Harden will now have to transition into a more balanced offense, which leaves the NBA followers to ask: will the three superstars be able to adapt to their new positions? The uncertainty around this question will heavily depend on Kyrie Irving, the point guard of the Brooklyn Nets. Irving is known for creating messy situations when he does not get his way, which is reflected in his short stint with the Boston Celtics. Not only is he known for creating controversy, but Irving reportedly does not have a great relationship with the head coach, Steve Nash, and often makes odd comments and controversial decisions off the court. Irving’s rash choices pose a huge problem that needs to be addressed for the Nets to make a championship run this season. Another primary concern for the team is defense. The Nets, while being offensively stacked, may have a tough team keeping opposing teams from scoring at will. The Nets may have to also address this to solidify their playoff contention.
So, how will this trade affect the Nets franchise as well as the rest of the NBA? Although the Nets acquired James Harden, they will have difficulties adding some younger talent to their roster in years to come. By trading away several picks and Caris Levert and Jarrett Allen, the Nets relinquished an abundance of young talent. With their starting lineup at an average age of about 30, the Nets will struggle to play on par with the younger generation of basketball players in the coming years. Not only will the team face problems within their team, but they will also have other teams such as the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers standing in their path to the NBA Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference could also thwart Brooklyn’s chance for their first championship in over 40 years. For now, NBA fans can only sit back and watch greatness unfold.