Basketball

Nets welcome James Harden, complete massive swop

Frustrated All-Star James Harden has officially become a member of the Brooklyn Nets after leaving the Houston Rockets.

“Adding an All-NBA player such as James to our roster better positions our team to compete against the league’s best,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a team statement on Thursday (Jan 14).

“James is one of the most prolific scorers and playmakers in our game, and we are thrilled to bring his special talents to Brooklyn.”

The Nets have added Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Harden in the past two years, bringing significant star power to Barclays Center.

In the four-team deal, the Houston Rockets received guard Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers, guard Dante Exum from the Cleveland Cavaliers, forward Rodions Kurucs of the Nets, three first-round draft picks from the Nets, one unprotected 2022 first-round pick from the Cavaliers (via the Milwaukee Bucks) and the right to swop four first-round picks with the Nets.

Guard Caris LeVert and a second-round pick will go from the Nets to the Pacers (via Houston in the Oladipo deal), and centre Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince go from Brooklyn to the Cavaliers with Cleveland sending a 2024 second-round pick to the Nets.

The first-round picks Houston received from the Nets are in 2022, 2024 and 2026. The swops are in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.

“While we are excited to welcome James and his family to the Nets, we also want to thank the players who are departing,” Marks said.

“Caris, Jarrett, Rodions and Taurean were instrumental to the team’s success and have made an enormous impact on our organisation. It has been a pleasure watching them grow both as players and as people and they will always be part of our Nets family.

“We wish each of them and their families all the best in the future.”

Harden, 31, held out of training camp and told the Rockets he wanted a trade.

He said he was frustrated by the direction of the team without team president Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D’Antoni, who left the franchise following the 2020 play-offs held in the bubble in Orlando.

D’Antoni is an assistant to first-year head coach Steve Nash with the Nets. Harden also reunites with Durant, his teammate for his first three NBA seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden has led the NBA in scoring in each of the past three seasons with averages of 30.4, 36.1 and 34.3 points. The timing of the deal could boost the Nets’ offence with Irving missing five consecutive games due to personal reasons. – REUTERS

NBABasketballHOUSTON ROCKETSbrooklyn netsjames harden