Rockets Trade James Harden to Nets in Multiteam Blockbuster

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The Rockets traded former MVP James Harden to the Nets on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

According to multiple reports, the Rockets will receive Brooklyn's unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026 in the deal. Houston also has the right to swap first-round picks with Brooklyn in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027. The Rockets have also acquired Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Cavaliers guard Dante Exum and Nets forward Rodions Kurucs.

The Pacers are receiving guard Caris LeVert and a second-round pick from the Rockets in Wednesday's blockbuster trade, while Brooklyn center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince will reportedly head to Cleveland.

In a revised trade on Saturday night, the Nets also sent $2.6 million to the Pacers along with LeVert, according to Wojnarowski

Brooklyn is also receiving a 2024 second-round pick from the Cavaliers, according to ESPN.

"Adding an All-NBA player such as James to our roster better positions our team to compete against the league’s best,” Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said on Thursday. "James is one of the most prolific scorers and playmakers in our game, and we are thrilled to bring his special talents to Brooklyn."

Wednesday's deal marks the end of a two-month saga in Houston after Harden reportedly requested a trade in November. The Rockets have limped out of the gate in a 3–6 start, losing to the Lakers 117–100 on Tuesday night. 

Harden was visibly frustrated following the defeat, and he restated his trade request in a postgame press conference.

“We're not even close, honestly, to [the Lakers] ... and all the other elite teams out there,” Harden said after the Rockets 17-point loss against Los Angeles on Tuesday. "I mean, you can tell the difference in these last two games. We're just not good enough. Chemistry, talent wise, just everything. And it was clear these last two games."

"I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. ... It's something that I don't think can be fixed."

The Harden era in Houston ended in ugly fashion, but the 2017–18 MVP leaves the Rockets as one of the greatest players in franchise history. 

Houston has reached the playoffs in each of the last eight seasons with Harden, coming one win away from the Finals in 2018. Harden is a seven-time All-NBA honoree and a three-time scoring champion, exiting Houston as the second-leading scorer in franchise history.

Harden now joins his former teammate Kevin Durant in Brooklyn as he seeks his first championship. Harden and Durant played three seasons together in Oklahoma City from 2009–12, reaching the 2012 Finals before Harden was traded to Houston ahead of the 2012–13 season. Harden will also join fellow All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, though Irving is currently out of the lineup due to a personal matter

The Rockets will travel to San Antonio without Harden on Thursday as they look to avoid falling into the Western Conference cellar. Brooklyn could have Harden on the court as soon as Saturday as it hosts the Magic.