Written by: Jagat
Edited by: Lucas
Visual by: Johanna
On January 14, www.nba.com confirmed a blockbuster trade that may very well challenge the entire dynamic of American basketball. In a complex four-team deal involving the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and Cleveland Cavaliers, the transaction involved various assets, including superstars, prospects, and draft picks. James Harden was among the many players who will suit up for a different team (will be joining the Nets), a former KIA Most Valuable Player and one of the most prolific offensive talents in NBA history.
James Harden has always been in the limelight, whether that be for his remarkable showings off the bench in Oklahoma City or for his MVP years in Houston. Since his first minutes in the NBA, the three time scoring champion has never hesitated to take a leap for stardom. Now a perennial all star, James Harden is an offensive threat on the floor every time he laces up. He boasts devastating handles, an innate ability to shoot the ball, and most notoriously, a tendency to draw fouls.
The free agency period going into the 2019-20 season was an immense success for the Nets franchise. In this transfer window, free agent superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were both signed to multi-year contracts. Coming off an Achilles rupture, KD left spectators uncertain about what his ability would be when he stepped back on the floor. Since returning, Durant has averaged 31.3 points (as of January 21), just second in points per game in the league. His resurgence along with this recent Harden trade has left many speculating the beginnings of a new basketball dynasty.
With three superstars in their prime, the Brooklyn Nets are looking like major contenders to win the NBA championship. However, there are still many who are doubting success from the roster for the main reason of clashing egos. With so many players used to being the best player for their respective teams, there is bound to be toxicity in the locker room unless players settle for less time with the ball in their hands. Furthermore, many are questioning the integrity of their defense as while the addition of James Harden was substantial on the offensive end, they gave away rim-protecting players such as young big man Jarret Allen in the trade.
Perhaps the most important part of this deal is that Harden is joining a franchise that would satisfy his personal needs. An unhealthy locker room environment in Houston caused him unhappiness that impacted his daily life. Many players commented on his noticeable joy while in his first game for Brooklyn, including Portland Trailblazer player CJ McCollum stating on twitter: “[Harden] happy as [expletive]. Love to see it.” When it comes to trades within the basketball world, often the business incentives of a team will outweigh the priority of ensuring the wellbeings of players. The Rockets should be commended for listening to Harden’s request to go somewhere that he opted for, something that will hopefully be perpetuated in trade deals to come.