The Houston Rockets are now Harden-free. Before the new NBA season began, James Harden asked for a trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
Though it didn’t happen before the season started, his wish was finally granted on Wednesday. The 6’6” 31-year old James Harden, the leading scorer in the NBA over the past three seasons, was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Harden is an 8-time NBA All-Star who also won the league’s MVP trophy in 2018.
In return, the Rockets received a quality player to replace Harden in Houston’s starting line-up (6’4” guard Victor Oladipo – age 28) plus four first round draft picks owned by the Brooklyn Nets on every even-numbered year beginning in 2022.
Twenty-2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate? Nets! Nets! Thank you, Brooklyn Nets!
The bearded Harden has been with the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets for the past eight seasons. He has been a local fan favorite for most of his years in Houston. “Fear the Beard” Rockets T-shirts featuring a caricature of Harden have been proudly worn by Houston-area basketball fans for several years.
After the Rockets acquired James Harden from Oklahoma City in 2012, the Houston Rockets became a consistent playoff team. They have made the NBA playoffs every season since Harden came to H-town.
Unfortunately, the team has not advanced to the NBA Finals during his eight years with the franchise. During last season, the Rockets finished fourth in the NBA’s Western Conference and lost in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual champions, Los Angeles Lakers.
James Harden wants a championship ring of his own. He apparently decided that he would never be able to do that by staying in Houston.
So, he wanted to head east and have a chance to play on a so-called “Super Team” with his former Oklahoma City forward and teammate, Kevin Durant, in Brooklyn. Since guard Kyrie Irving was already on the team, the Brooklyn Nets will now have three recent NBA All-Stars making up 60% of the starting five.
The big question on everyone’s mind is, “How will they perform together?”
The Brooklyn Nets also have a rookie head coach in 46-year old Steve Nash (a former two-time NBA Most Valuable Player while toiling in Phoenix). Nash never won an NBA title during his career so he can certainly empathize with James Harden.
A bigger question may be, “Can Steve Nash deal with three oversized egos and win big in Brooklyn”?
I have pondered this thought over the past 24 hours and have come up with six plausible scenarios for the Brooklyn Nets’ trio of highly paid, high profile basketball stars:
- The Three Musketeers – Led by their title-hungry coach Steve Nash, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving and their band of Merry Men (their relatively unknown and underpaid teammates) come together as a true team. They lift each other up and have each others’ backs. They win together as a team and lose together as a team. The fans of the NBA applaud them, the media loves them, and the Nets bring home their first NBA title this season. All for one and one for all!
- The Three Amigos – James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving have each other’s backs, but they aren’t exactly working very well with their teammates. They ride into town together – arm in arm – and attempt to win every game together in spite of their supporting cast. They love each other, but the rest of the team doesn’t. The Amigos lose in the NBA Eastern Finals this season (blaming their inferior teammates) and never make it into the NBA finals.
- The Three Tenors – The Beard, KD, and Kyrie are all individual stars who love to hear the audiences cheer for them! Now that the Brooklyn Nets have brought them together in the Big Apple, each of these three stars will try to outscore each other and impress the fans with their incredible individual talents. They will win many games, make the post-season, but come down with a bad case of laryngitis and choke in the early rounds of the playoffs!
- The Three Little Pigs – With each of these three players wanting to hog the ball, I expect Kyrie Irving’s straw house will fold with a large burst of hot air from these teammates. Kevin Durant will “stick” to his game and shun passing the ball to the other two. James Harden, though, has been known to put up his share of “bricks” in the house. These three ball “hogs” may get the Nets into the first round of the playoffs, and they’ll soon be blown out and go “wee, wee, wee” all the way home!
- The Three Little Kittens – Like the story goes, these three multi-millionaires will probably get cross with each other all season long. At some point, they’ll lose their mittens and scratch each other to pieces, and soon begin to cry. No playoffs for you under this storyline, Nets fans!
- The Three Stooges – This might be the most entertaining outcome for this trio of players. Kevin “Moe” Durant, Kyrie “Larry” Irving, and James “Curly” Harden will bungle and stumble their way through the regular season and destroy literally everything in their way. Coach Steve Nash simply cannot coach this trio of high-priced and egotistical knuckleheads. His post-game interviews with the New York press could end with a nightly pie fight! The regular season mercifully ends with a thunderous crash as the NBA Brooklyn Nets’ new comedy trio skedaddles out of the arena as the closing credits roll.
Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!