James Harden has finally been traded to the Brooklyn Nets, and the haul the Houston Rockets received in return is unbelievable. More important to Detroit Pistons fans, though, the trade radically transformed the present and future of the Eastern Conference as the trade involved not just the Nets, but also the Pacers and Cavs, with both teams solidifying its direction for the next several years.
First, let’s get the details of the trade out there. This is complicated but here it goes:
Sources: Full current trade:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2021
Rockets: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, 3 BKN first-rounders (22, 24, 26), 1 MIL first (22, unprotected), 4 BKN 1st round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27)
Nets: James Harden
Pacers: Caris LeVert, 2nd-rounder
Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
Obviously, the headline is that the Brooklyn Nets think that Kevin Durant, James Harden and (maybe) Kyrie Irving can deliver them an NBA Title — rebounding and defense be damned. From the Rockets point of view, it’s a no-brainer, they get four first-round picks, four pick swaps stretching past Brooklyn’s competitive window and an expiring Victor Oladipo.
The Oladipo inclusion is the most interesting. Houston decided to have a clean slate instead of keeping a young player under contract in Caris LeVert. The Pacers, meanwhile, knew a separation from Oladipo was inevitable and pounced at the chance to add a perfect complement to Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis. The Pacers should be an extremely good team for the next several years.
The Cavs, meanwhile, use a stash of expiring contracts and a few spare assets they had lying around in order to secure the rights to Jarrett Allen who is one of the most promising young centers in the NBA. Cleveland seems to have determined they will not be needing Andre Drummond’s services beyond this season and he could be traded for a second consecutive deadline (if someone is looking to get off some long-term money and willing to send a draft pick or young player along).
Getting Allen and the perfectly servicable Taurean Prince means that the Cavs are better immediately and separate themselves further from the dregs of the Eastern Conference (aka, the Pistons). That’s good news for a rebuilding team like Detroit, which wants to be in the thick of the Cade Cunningham sweepstakes.
But it does provide a clearer picture of Cleveland’s future, which adds Allen to add to Darius Garland, Issac Okoro and Collin Sexton. That’s a solid foundation with a mix of offensive and defensive firepower. They’ve got a ways to go still, and they sacrificed some future assets (the Milwaukee pick going to Houston was owed to Cleveland as well as sending out their own second-rounder), but Allen seems to be worth it.
Will this move work for Brooklyn? I certainly have my doubts!
How will Kyrie, who is already away from the team in somewhat mysterious fashion, react to being the third option?
How will Brooklyn not give up 125 points per night?
Will Houston try to flip Oladipo at the deadline or is their any chance they actually want to invest in him long term?
How will VO work as a pick-and-roll partner with Christian Wood?
Are there any takers for Andre Drummond?
What do you think about this crazy, NBA landscape-altering trade?