The Nets trading for James Harden would look pretty on paper, but here’s why it’s actually a terrible idea.
At this point, Brooklyn Nets fans have to accept the fact that they are seemingly one of two teams who will land James Harden’s services this offseason. Either he stays in Houston, which doesn’t appear to appeal to him anymore by any means, or the Rockets fulfill his demands and trade him to Brooklyn so he can team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
On Monday night, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Harden turned down a two-year contract extension from Houston that would have made him the first $50 million per year player in league history.
For someone who’s made hundreds of millions both on the court and with endorsements, money simply doesn’t hold as much value as it used to. Winning a championship seems to be Harden’s top priority after years of underachieving in the playoffs, so it makes perfect sense why he wants to be dealt to the Nets.
However, while a blockbuster of that extreme would no doubt bolster Brooklyn’s championship odds, trading for Harden is actually a terrible idea and here’s why.
For starters, adding another ball-dominant guard for head coach Steve Nash to implement into the offense is not only redundant, but it would potentially be a disaster as far as team chemistry is concerned. We’ve yet to see a Big 3 that features all three stars who need the ball on most possessions in order to be effective.
That situation can become incredibly toxic in the blink of an eye, and the Nets really have to consider if they want that sort of blood on their hands when they already have an ideal championship core in place.
Speaking of which, trading for Harden would completely wipe out Brooklyn’s resources in terms of young assets and draft capital. After looking at what the Bucks had to fork over to acquire Jrue Holiday — two serviceable point guards in George Hill and Eric Bledsoe along with three first-round draft picks (and swaps) — what do we think Houston’s asking price will be for their former MVP?
Our guess is that the Rockets will start the bidding at Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie and four (maybe five) first-round picks. Harden is great, but we’re not so sure any player in the league is worth that sort of haul.
And the final point is that Brooklyn would literally have to win a title in this three-year window or else be considered a laughingstock, kind of like the championship-favorite Los Angeles Clippers last season after they blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
Fans are obviously expecting KD and Kyrie to make a deep run this season, but the sense of urgency to capture a title isn’t there from the jump. It’s clear this team has to get on the floor and develop some sort of familiarity before taking the league by storm. Harden will only put significant pressure on that endeavor.
The Nets should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves if trading for Harden is actually a good idea. In our eyes, he doesn’t come close to being worth the price of admission and it has a lot more to do than just the basketball fit.