When James Harden enters the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, the show will element his profession accomplishments, awards, and different honors. It will likely be a powerful checklist. There’ll probably be point out of him being certainly one of solely two gamers to win each the Sixth Man of the 12 months and MVP awards.
As a result of that’s how we deal with nice however flawed gamers in museums. It’s why one sport refuses to acknowledge a few of its biggest gamers, as a result of it doesn’t know the way to take action with out referencing the performance-enhancing drug cloud round them. So Harden’s show in Springfield gained’t have something on there about how, as a maximum-contract participant, he stop on two franchises in 13 months.
Make no mistake, although. That can be Harden’s legacy, whether or not his newest machinations wind up with him successful that elusive NBA championship ring or not.
James Harden didn’t even wish to converse the reality
It was one of many strangest bits of breaking information ever seen on the NBA beat. On the morning of Feb. 10, the day of the NBA commerce deadline, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that James Harden needed a commerce to the Philadelphia 76ers.
He didn’t have the fortitude to return ahead and ask Brooklyn Nets normal supervisor Sean Marks for it. As a substitute, it leaked to the media.
It appears The Beard needed out of Brooklyn. However he feared the potential backlash from followers if he requested one other commerce. In 2020, Harden advised the Houston Rockets he needed out. He skipped coaching camp and half of the preseason earlier than sleepwalking by means of eight video games earlier than getting his want.
This time, his request wasn’t verbal. However, wow, was it a chunk of the purest efficiency artwork you’ll ever hope to expertise.
Whereas coping with what the staff stated was tightness in his left hamstring, Harden strung collectively a closing act with the Nets that was proper out of the pages of latest social media.
In response to the “inform us you need a commerce with out telling us you need a commerce” problem, Harden shot 8-of-30 in his ultimate two video games as a Internet. Sure, he dished 22 assists, however he additionally turned the ball over 10 occasions. In his four-point, 37-minute dud in an 11-point loss at Sacramento on Feb. 2, The Beard appeared to maneuver at half-speed.
He was in avenue garments for his final three video games on the roster with a hamstring all however positive to be miraculously recovered for the subsequent Philadelphia 76ers’ recreation.
James Harden is undeniably gifted however laborious to please
When he was the overall supervisor of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey rolled the cube in 2012 on a large commerce. The Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, already with younger stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook signed to big-money extensions, determined they couldn’t afford to maintain James Harden.
Morey swooped in, buying and selling rookie Jeremy Lamb and veteran Kevin Martin and three draft picks, two of them first-rounders, to OKC for Harden and a trio of gamers who both by no means wore a Rockets uniform or discovered themselves on the transfer shortly after that.
However Morey’s experiments with buying stars to pair with Harden by no means fairly labored out. Dwight Howard got here and went. Later Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook took the identical path. John Wall arrived earlier than Harden left for Brooklyn.
Nothing was ever fairly sufficient.
In Brooklyn, Harden reunited with Durant and joined Kyrie Irving. The vaunted Massive Three wound up one of many biggest “what if” teams in NBA historical past. The trio performed solely 10 regular-season and 6 playoff video games collectively, going 13–3 in these contests.
The 2017–18 NBA MVP has a brand new star to play with in MVP favourite Joel Embiid. He’s prone to get a four-year, $222.8 million extension this summer time that may pay him almost $62 million when he’s 37.
It was Morey who engineered the deal to carry Harden to Philadelphia. Perhaps it really works out this time. Historical past says in any other case.
The Brooklyn Nets gambled on an excellent staff and misplaced
The Nets paid a steep worth for 89 video games and a second-round playoff exit. Placing the start and finish of James Harden’s tenure in Brooklyn collectively is sobering.
For these 392 days with the 10-time All-Star, the Nets surrendered:
- Jarrett Allen
- Caris LeVert
- Taurean Prince
- Rodions Kurucs
- Paul Millsap
- First-round picks in 2022, 2024, and 2026
- Potential first-round decide swaps in 2023, 2025, and 2027 (the Rockets didn’t train the 2021 swap)
In return, Brooklyn received:
- Ben Simmons
- Seth Curry
- Andre Drummond
- Philadelphia’s 2022 first
- Cleveland’s 2024 second
- A top-8 protected 2027 first-rounder from the 76ers
The Nets misplaced their tenth straight recreation simply hours after buying and selling Harden and Millsap. They’re eighth within the Jap Convention, 6.5 video games behind the Miami Warmth, path the sixth-place Toronto Raptors by 2.5 video games, and are solely 3.5 video games forward of the Eleventh-place Washington Wizards within the play-in race.
The preseason favorites to win the NBA title are 29–26. Irving is just eligible for 9 of Brooklyn’s remaining 27 video games. Simmons will want time to get into recreation form after not taking part in since June.
The Nets are in disarray, although Durant ought to return quickly from a knee damage. The Rockets are in full rebuilding mode. If James Harden had been a film character, he’d be the Keep Puft Marshmallow Man of Ghostbusters fame. And but groups maintain selecting him as their destructor.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference. Contract info courtesy of Spotrac.
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