Nets’ Title Odds Improve to +300 After Acquiring James Harden

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  • Nets’ NBA title odds improve from +550 to +300 after trading for former MVP James Harden
  • Harden will join Durant, Irving on a star-studded Brooklyn team
  • Rockets started just 3-6 with the disgruntled Harden in the fold

At long last, the James Harden saga has come to an end. After months of speculation, the Houston Rockets finally traded the ex-NBA MVP to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team blockbuster deal on Wednesday afternoon. Brooklyn has reportedly been Harden’s preferred destination all along, and he’ll be reunited in NYC with former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant.

While Harden’s early-season form likely didn’t do much to improve his trade value, the Nets did still have to fork over quite a haul of assets in order to facilitate the trade. The Rockets are landing four future first-rounders in the deal, three of which will come from Brooklyn (2022, 2024, 2026). The fourth first-rounder goes to Houston via the Cleveland Cavaliers, which was originally the 2022 first-rounder of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Other Moving Parts

The Rockets will also have the ability to swap first-round picks with the Nets in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027. It was originally reported that the Rockets would be landing swingman Caris LeVert from Brooklyn, but LeVert will instead head to Indiana. In turn, the Pacers will send former All-Star guard Victor Oladipo to Houston. The Rockets will also receive guard Dante Exum and forward Rodions Kurucs.

For sending the aforementioned 2022 first-rounder to Houston, the Cavaliers landed 22-year-old center Jarrett Allen and swingman Taurean Prince from the Nets. Indiana has landed a 2023 second-round pick from Houston in the four-team bonanza. The Cavs are sending a 2024 second-rounder to Brooklyn, as well. The Nets now have three vacant roster spots that can be used on free agents, if they so choose.

Uncertainty With Kyrie Fueled Nets’ Interest

The Nets now have three MVP-caliber players around which to build a hopeful title contender. Brooklyn’s urgency to make the trade became more apparent over the past few days as a result of the strange situation around Irving. Kyrie has been away from the Nets since last week due to personal reasons, and the NBA is reportedly investigating whether he broke the league’s health and safety protocols when he allegedly recently appeared at his sister’s birthday party without wearing a mask.

The Nets have no indication as to when Irving will return. In the meantime, they will have to settle for trying to win games with only two former league MVPs on the roster in Durant and Harden. The two were teammates with Oklahoma City to begin their respective careers before Harden was traded to Houston in 2012.

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

Rebuilding Rockets

The Rockets have gotten off to a ragged 3-6 start to the season, which culminated in Harden publicly bashing the team after Tuesday’s lopsided loss to the Lakers. The Rockets led for a grand total of 11 seconds across back-to-back blowout losses at the hands of the defending champions, which led to Harden saying after the game that the team just isn’t “good enough” to compete for a title at this point.

The Harden trade is just the latest domino to fall for a Rockets franchise that has seen a lot of turnover in recent months. General manager Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D’Antoni both left the Rockets on their own volition during the offseason, while Russell Westbrook was traded to the Wizards in exchange for John Wall shortly before the beginning of the season. Harden made his desire to be dealt known to the team shortly thereafter, but the Rockets retained Harden into the regular season with hopes of securing the best possible trade. Harden will be reunited with D’Antoni in Brooklyn, where the latter serves as an assistant under head coach Steve Nash.

The Nets were already among the odds-on favorites to win the NBA title heading into the season, but this move has pushed them past Milwaukee to the top of the Eastern Conference leaderboard. Caesars Sportsbook has improved the Nets’ NBA title odds from +550 to +300, which puts them behind only the Lakers (+250) leaguewide. The Milwaukee Bucks (+500) have the second-best NBA title odds among Eastern Conference teams.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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