It was just two nights ago that the Brooklyn Nets’ Big Three played in their 16th game together and routed the top team in the East. And now that the calendar’s been flipped over to Jan. 14, Friday marks the official first anniversary of the James Harden three-team trade.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported the trade on Jan. 13, but it wasn’t made official until the morning of Jan. 14.
In exchange for Harden, the Nets lost Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, and the rights to the No. 57 pick in the 2017 draft, Aleksander Vezenkov, to Cleveland, but received a 2024 second-round pick.
Houston received Caris LeVert, Rodions Kurucs, three first-round picks (2022, 2024, 2026), and four first-round pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027) from Brooklyn.
Harden had been with the Rockets since 2012-13, and it was no secret that he wanted to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
It’s been one year since James Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Harden hasn’t been without his struggles in his first full season with the Nets. It started with him spending the offseason rehabbing a hamstring injury, which prohibited him from playing in pickup basketball. His confidence and aggression were affected, but he’s worked past that.
On top of that, he’s had to deal with the NBA no longer calling fouls on non-basketball moves. That was the name of his game in Houston, and while he’s now more accustomed to the new role, it’s still affecting his play.
And if that wasn’t enough, Harden was thrown into the role as Brooklyn’s point guard after the organization said that they wouldn’t allow Irving to be a part-time player. We know that the Nets’ stance on that issue has now changed, but the team’s still without Irving for home games.
Harden’s averaging 22.5 points per game (the lowest for him since 2011-12), 9.9 assists, and 8.1 rebounds.
So, while this season has been one of the most challenging years for Harden, it has the potential to be one of his best, and Brooklyn wouldn’t be where it is now if the trade for Harden never happened.
However, they lost key players in the process, such as Allen and LeVert.
Allen’s having the greatest year of his career with the Cavaliers and is averaging career-highs in points per game (16.7) and rebounds (10.8.). The Nets lack depth at center, but giving up Allen for Harden was part of the price that had to be paid.
A couple of days after Harden’s trade was made official, the Rockets traded LeVert to the Pacers for Victor Oladipo. LeVert’s numbers are down from what they were in his final two years in Brooklyn. He’s averaging 17.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
The Nets lost several first-round picks in the process, but that’s what it takes to acquire an eight-time All-Star (now nine).
Brooklyn went all in on the Harden trade and were chosen as the 2021-22 preseason title favorites a few months later.
Now all that’s left is for the Nets to win their first title, and extend both Harden and Irving. No pressure, right?