• Gabe Zoda

What Just Happened: A Harden Trade Breakdown

The NBA just got absolutely shaken up when James Harden got dealt to the Brooklyn Nets. We were all preparing for this to happen but I don't think anybody, AND I MEAN ANYBODY, expected this. Let's go through every part of the trade and how each team made out after this insane trade.



James Harden made it very obvious that he didn't want to be apart of the Houston Rockets anymore. He made sure to let everyone know that he has had enough and is ready to move on in a post game interview after losing to the Lakers by 17+ in consecutive games.

Harden said that the Rockets are "Just not good enough." He expressed that he has gave it all he had to that city throughout his nine years with the team.

After saying this, Harden's teammates responded very negatively towards the former MVP.

John Wall expressed how he felt as if James was just jumping off the boat way too early in the year and that there is no reason to quit on a team 9 games in.

DeMarcus Cousins expressed a "Boogie-esque" response by saying, "Obviously it's disrespect. We feel a certain type of way about some of his actions...when guys are in positions of being franchise players, it's sometimes a nasty breakup."

The Rockets decided that it would be best if Harden wasn't with the team until he was traded. He was told not to come to practice and it was expected that he wouldn't of played in any of the future games. And then finally, Woj hit everyone with the biggest bomb of the season so far:

Shortly after, it was announced that this wasn't just a trade between the Rockets and the Nets, but the Cavs and the Pacers would also get involved.

At the end of it all, this is what the full trade ended up being:

Rockets: Victor Oladipo (From Pacers), Dante Exum (From Cavs), Rodions Kurucs (From Brooklyn) , 3 BKN first-rounders (22, 24, 26), 1 MIL first (22, unprotected), 4 BKN 1st round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27), 1 CLE 2024 2nd Round Pick

Nets: James Harden

Pacers: Caris LeVert, 2023 HOU 2nd Round Pick

Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

Here's how all of this works for each team.


The Rockets made it out of this mess with the biggest haul and probably benefited the most from the trade which is pretty rare when you are trading away one of the best players in the league.

The main player they got from the trade was Victor Oladipo. They realized that they didn't want Caris LeVert and Wall on the floor together. That is a weird dynamic and they are two players who run the same type of play style on offense.

On the defensive end, Oladipo provides backcourt defense that the Rockets need desperately. The other two players (Exum and Kurucs) will be used as depth to the bench and could provide some bench scoring when the starters' shots aren't falling.

Aside from these players, the Rockets made out with a ton of picks. They received 8 first round picks from the Nets and a 2nd rounder from the Cavs. This will be crucial in drafting solid players for the years to come to facilitate the rebuild.

Overall, the Rockets are the biggest winner coming out of this trade and a future roster that includes: John Wall, Oladipo, Eric Gordon, DeMarcus Cousins and Christian Wood are destined to win a lot of basketball games.


The Nets were willing to give everything to the Rockets to making this possible and based off of the overview, they did. Any time you have an opportunity to getting 3 All-NBA superstars, all in their primes, you take it without question.

The Nets gave Harden his desire to play with KD in hopes of him coming to Brooklyn ready to work and be a real member of this team.

This move makes for a weird situation for the Nets for the future. They are still dealing with Kyrie, who has had little interest in playing basketball as of late. They also will be without their rising players in Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, including an injury to Spencer Dinwiddie. They will need a couple of weeks to get used to playing with this depleted depth while trying to spreading the rock between KD, Harden, and Kyrie.

All 3 of these guys are ball dominant so it will be interesting how it works. Depth and bench scoring with be the biggest problem for this roster.

When they find the system that works, it's only a matter of time before this team is compared to other legendary big 3's.

Will they end up being better than the 2017 Warriors? Only time will tell.


These last two teams didn't have any big splashes, but their moves are still valuable and will contribute to success in the future.

The Pacers came out with Caris LeVert and a second round pick. If you aren't a fan of Caris right now, then you should consider becoming one now because he will be dropping impressive numbers very soon.

In Brooklyn, there was always some star that was over him and took priority over him on offense. Whether it was D'angelo, Irving, or KD, he never really got his time to shine and now he has that opportunity.

With the way the Pacers play, Caris will get a lot of touches along with Brogdon and Sabonis. Everyone eats on this offense and it will show when LeVert is added to it. They did lose a little on defense with the departure of Oladipo, but the Pacers aren't too worried about that. They currently have the 2nd best defense according to Fox Sports. Most of that defense is coming from Myles Turner and Sabonis down low while Brogdon holds the perimeter down. LeVert will be an upgrade on offense and a future asset which is all the Pacers could ask for.


The Cavs decided they would toss their hat in the fire and see what they could get out of it and it ended up with a pretty good haul compared to what they gave up.

The Cavs traded Dante Exum, a 2022 First Rounder via MIL, and a 2024 Second Rounder to the Nets and received Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince.

The Cavs needed forward depth to go along with Cedi Osman and they got exactly what they wanted in Prince.

Allen provides a wrinkle to the coaching staff though. Allen is obviously a good player and he provided a nice stat line for the Nets this year (11.2PPG, 10.4RPG, 1.6 BPG). A majority of his time was on the bench behind DeAndre Jordan so he will be able to fit in right behind Andre Drummond.

On the other hand, Allen has shown that he is a starting center in the NBA so splitting their minutes will be the tough part for them. The Cavs 100 percent improved with this trade as well.


I think this is one of those rare times where you really can't name a losing team in a 4 team trade. Every single team managed to get better and these next couple of weeks will be interesting to see how these teams figure things out with their new squads.

This is what I see from this blockbuster trade. Hopefully, it helped to understand the moves and how these moves will effect those teams in the future. If you want to reach out me about your thoughts on this trade, you can reach out to me @GabeZoda on Twitter!