The James Harden sweepstakes concluded on Wednesday and "The Beard" got what he wished for. Now out of the Houston Rockets, the former MVP gets to play with the Brooklyn Nets, thus reuniting him with former OKC teammate Kevin Durant. With Kyrie Irving on the franchise too, the Nets suddenly morphed into a superteam.
The mega-trade was made possible by a four-way agreement that also involved the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers. The two clubs came to the picture because they have the assets not currently on the Nets and Rockets rosters. Essentially, they are in the deal to push forward the earlier demands made by Harden.
The NBA shooting champion made clear in the offseason that he intends to join forces with KD at Brooklyn and for an obvious reason - Harden wants a clear shot at the NBA title and he is convinced he will get with the Nets.
According to ESPN, the Nets moved up to become serious title contenders, and why not. The team has Durant and Irving, who are both All-Star and NBA ring owners. Harden is coming in and the trio can easily explode to 80 or 90 points and up every game.
That assumption is anchored on the fact that Harden and KD are averaging nearly 30 points per game and Irving is on the same zone. The Nets are now favored to emerge as the champions in the Eastern Conference, dislodging the Milwaukee Bucks.
And they are predicted to slug it out with the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals with a high probability of winning the Larry O'Brien trophy.
Nets head coach Steve Nash tried to downplay Harden's arrival by making clear that while having superstars count, basketball is still a team game.
"I think basketball is about playing together and being the best you can be. So, no matter who you are, it's about finding connectivity and balance within a team and trying to be greater than the sum of your parts," Nash was reported as saying.
Mostly, the NBA community greeted the blockbuster exchange with excitement. Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, observed that Harden heading off to the east side of the league will balance the competition. He could only see the spectacle of more competitive matches playing out in the season.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson took to Twitter and offered that the competition will be exhilarating than before. However, Johnson remains convinced that his former team is lined up for a repeat this 2021, according to Fadeaway World.
"James Harden getting traded to the Brooklyn Nets to join KD and Kyrie will be special to watch... but I'm still picking the Lakers to win the Championship," said the former playmaker.
Johnson could be right as Los Angeles is still the better team defensively, at least on paper. But one thing is certain, the Nets are in a strong position to win big in this campaign and they must remember - the road ahead is not easy.