As we discussed this weekend, James Harden is reportedly ready to bolt from Houston, even if it comes at the expense of a sizable addition to his current contract. Most spicily, the rumor going around was that Harden wanted to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, doing the whole super team thing in the East.
A bit fantastic? Unrealistic? Well, maybe not. Because it’s getting some heat:
Sources around the league believe there is a “verbal agreement” between the Nets and Rockets that would bring James Harden to Brooklyn, and create a superteam with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) November 17, 2020
🚨 @APOOCH is reporting that there is a “verbal agreement” to bring James Harden from the Rockets to the Nets 🚨
Anthony Puccio is one of the best, well-connected reporters on the beat in Brooklyn. It's not official yet but this is more than just smoke.https://t.co/7Hh35KkCc1
— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) November 17, 2020
Keep your eyes on this one. Not only would it just be great drama to see play out, but obviously the impact on the East is going to be significant for a number of teams – not necessarily the Bulls in the VERY near-term, but a year or two? Maybe.
As we wrote previously, though, the hurdles to a deal like this are non-zero:
So what would it take to get a deal done? Well … a lot. The Nets would have to offload plenty of contract and draft picks to not only (1) make the space for Harden, but (2) make it worthwhile for the Rockets. Including Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Taurean Prince in the deal would make the money work, but multiple first-round picks would have to be thrown into that deal to make the Rockets (potentially) pull the trigger. I’d say that haul isn’t terrible, but one has to wonder if the Rockets could get a better potential superstar in a deal with another team. For example, what if the 76ers were interested and offered Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid?
Money-wise, Harden is owed roughly $132 million over the next three seasons, so it would clearly tighten the Nets pocketbook for the foreseeable future, thus forcing them to get a bit creative when building a supporting cast. I guess that might not matter, though, when Durant and Irving are on the roster. Just sign a couple of those cardboard cutouts in the stands and see what happens.
If the deal is really on the table for Brooklyn, you have to do what you can to make it happen. But I’m not sure anything ends up getting done – I mean, the finances alone would be very tough to figure out – but this is a must-follow story over the next couple of days. Man, the NBA never fails to surprise us.