The NBA’s offseason rumors are as hot as ever right now, especially when it comes to the ones about the Houston Rockets’ biggest stars, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. After another disappointing playoff finish, some reports suggest that both superstars could be leaving Houston soon. While there have been many potential landing spots discussed for Westbrook, the team most likely to acquire Harden is starting to become more clear. That team is actually the Brooklyn Nets.
James Harden’s future with the Houston Rockets is up in the air
For almost a decade, the Houston Rockets have been on a hunt for an NBA championship with James Harden.
After a couple of first-round exits in his first two seasons in Houston, Harden took the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals in 2014-15. Then, a few years later in 2017-18, after a first-round exit and Conference Semifinals loss, Harden and Chris Paul helped lead the Rockets back to the Western Conference Finals. They then even took a 3-2 series lead over the Golden State Warriors, but Paul did not play in Game 6 or Game 7. The Rockets then lost in seven games.
Harden and the Rockets have since lost in the Western Conference Semifinals in each of the last two years. This past year’s finish was maybe even more disappointing because of the fact that they traded Paul for a former MVP in Russell Westbrook. Still, though, they just couldn’t quite get over the hump and get to the NBA Finals.
Since the loss in the playoffs, reports have suggested that Harden and Westbrook have both shared concern about the direction that the Rockets are going in as a franchise, according to ESPN. Then, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Westbrook reportedly wants out of Houston, but he also said that Harden “remains committed to the Rockets.”
However, this has led to some Harden trade rumors. One potential move could ultimately change the NBA’s entire landscape, too.
James Harden could potentially go to the Brooklyn Nets
Recently, on ESPN’s First Take, Kendrick Perkins, who played with Harden and Durant on the Oklahoma City Thunder, said that the Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers could be landing spots for Harden, according to the New York Post.
Now, Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated reports that a source has said that the Nets have discussed a Harden trade with the Rockets.
“James Harden for a variation of: Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince, and Jarrett Allen,” Esnaashari tweeted on Nov. 14. “Nothing finalized, but Harden to Nets seems like real possibility. If finalized, announced on Nov 22.”
Well, that’s interesting. So, how would Harden fit on the Nets?
How would he fit on the Brooklyn Nets?
It’s hard to say how Harden would fit on the Nets simply because Irving and Durant haven’t played together yet. Durant missed all of last season, and Irving only played in 20 games.
However, based on what we already know about Irving and Durant, they are both ball-dominant scorers. Harden is also a ball-dominant scorer. This doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be able to play together, though.
Durant won two championships while in the Golden State Warriors’ system, and they shared the ball more efficiently than maybe any other team in NBA history. Durant also averaged a career-high in assists while he was there in 2018-19 with 5.9. Irving, on the other hand, played with another ball-dominant player in LeBron James, and they won a championship together. He had also just averaged a career-high 6.9 assists with the Boston Celtics in 2018-19.
Additionally, while Harden has led the NBA in scoring in each of the last three seasons, he still knows how to share the ball. He has averaged 7.5 assists or more in each of the last five seasons, and he led the NBA in assists in 2016-17 with 11.2.
The simple fact is this: Harden, Durant, and Irving are three of the best scorers in the NBA. Each of them could carry the Nets’ offense at any moment. However, at least one of these guys would need to play off the ball more than they have in the past. That doesn’t mean that this one player would be getting held back, though. It would just take some time for all three of them to figure out how to play together efficiently.
Once they were to figure it out, though, this big three would be unstoppable.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference