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NBA rumors: Nets now favored to land James Harden in a trade?

Vincent Frank
NBA rumors: James Harden trade
Dec 28, 2019; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) dribbles the ball during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

NBA rumors are picking up hot and heavy with teams able to finalize trades on Monday. That led to this reported deal between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

We now have more news on the NBA trade front, and it’s an absolute doozy. According to ESPN, the Brooklyn Nets are now favored to land Houston Rockets guard James Harden in what would be a blockbuster trade.

Rumors have persisted over the past several days that the Rockets could look to move both Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Despite Harden apparently being committed to the Rockets, they might be looking to go in another direction under first-year head coach Stephen Silas.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Rockets, check out #Rockets rumors, rankings, and news here

As for the Nets, acquiring Harden to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would be a coup to end all coups. Harden, 31, is among the most efficient scorers in modern NBA history. Sure the dynamics between himself and Irving would be something for head coach Steve Nash to work out. But the talent level in that back court would be undeniable.

NBA rumors: How would a James Harden trade to the Nets look?

We floated this possibility last week when NBA rumors suggested Harden could be on the block. Any trade for the former NBA MVP would have to include Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen heading to the Rockets. From there, Brooklyn would have to offer up cap fillers and multiple first-round picks.

Potential James Harden trade

  • Nets get: James Harden
  • Rockets get: Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Alen, Taurean Prince, draft picks

Now, the Rockets have told other teams that they plan to keep Harden. However, that could very well be an attempt to increase Harden’s value on the trade block.

Right now, Houston is not seen as a legit title contender. Add in the fact that Westbrook wants out of dodge, and that’s magnified further.

Acquiring three young players for Harden would be a way for Houston to turn the page from its playoffs struggles under Harden. What better time to do that than following the departures of head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey?

Related: NBA Draft trade rumors

Brooklyn Nets roster

NBA rumors: Getting James Harden to team up with Irving, Durant would be a coup
Dec 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) and guard Kyrie Irving (11) react in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

From the Nets’ perspective, a trade of this ilk would make them a legit NBA title contender. Brooklyn signed Irving and Durant ahead of the 2019-20 season, forming one of the best tandems in the Association.

However, Durant missed the entire season with an Achilles injury while Irving was sidelined for a while due to numerous injuries. Adding Harden to team up with those two would be putting the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors on notice back east.

The larger issue here would be depth. Committing that type of cash to three players would force the Nets to fill out the remainder of their roster with players on rookie deals and vet-minimum contracts. It would be the modern definition of a super team.

Stay tuned.