James Harden headed to Nets, Oladipo to Rockets in blockbuster 4-team deal

By BRIAN MAHONEY and KRISTIE RIEKEN

James Harden is heading to Brooklyn, joining old teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to give the Nets a potent trio of the some of the NBA’s highest scorers.

The Nets agreed to acquire the three-time scoring champion from the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in a move he has sought for weeks, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

Harden is the centerpiece of a four-team deal that also involves Indiana and Cleveland, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade call with the NBA — which signs off on all deals — has not been completed.

Once it is, the Nets will be able to trot out a lineup of three players capable of scoring 25 or more points on any night in a collection of firepower to rival any Big Three in recent years.

They are loading up for a title run with three of the highest-paid players in the league. All are under contract through 2022-23, with Harden and Durant both set to earn more than $40 million in each of the next two seasons.

In the meantime, the Nets were short-handed for their game against the New York Knicks, where coach Steve Nash declined to discuss Harden but did confirm that the players the Nets were trading were not in the building.

Off to a 6-6 start in his rookie season, now the former point guard and two-time league MVP will have to mold an offense that keeps the ball moving with three players worthy of having it in their hands.

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“It’s a simple game but it becomes complicated when you put different personalities and players on the floor,” Nash said. “Our group’s done a really good job being unselfish this year and trying to move the ball and work together so I’ve been proud of that.”

The blockbuster deal provides a needed boost amid a period of drama for both franchises. It was struck less than 24 hours after Harden seemed to deliver a farewell address of sorts following the Rockets’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, and just before Irving was set to miss a fifth straight game during a personal absence from the Nets.

At least four draft picks and additional pick swaps are also part of the deal, the person said. Other key players: Victor Oladipo goes from Indiana to Houston, and Caris LeVert goes from Brooklyn to Indiana, the person said. The Cavaliers will get Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets in the deal, a person familiar with the trade told the AP.

Harden, who has cycled through Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook as teammates in recent seasons, didn’t think much of the roster the Rockets had around him this season.

“We’re just not good enough … I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can,” Harden said Tuesday night. “I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”

It couldn’t, and now he’s …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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