Basketball

James Harden moves to Brooklyn Nets: A breakdown of the blockbuster deal

Olympic gold medallist James Harden will move from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets to form hugely talented 'Big Three' with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

By Ed Knowles ·

James Harden is joining the Brooklyn Nets to be reunited with former teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to form a blockbuster high-scoring trio in an historic trade deal in basketball.

The Harden move is the centre of a hugely complex situation involving four teams: the Houston Rockets, the Brooklyn Nets, the Indiana Pacers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It means the Nets have three players who have track records of scoring over 25 points in games.

Why is this so huge?

The trade means the Nets are in the running for an NBA title. The franchise has never won the NBA championship.

Both James Harden and Kevin Durant will earn over $40 million in each of the next two seasons.

James Harden leaving the court as the Houston Rockets took on the LA Lakers

It throws up an interesting challenge for Canadian coach and 2000 Olympian Steve Nash.

How do you fashion some of the best players in the league into an unstoppable force?

“It’s a simple game but it becomes complicated when you put different personalities and players on the floor,” Nash said to the Associated Press (AP).

“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.”

Men’s Basketball Final, London 2012

In the closest finish in 40 years, the USA played Spain for the men's baske...

What does this mean for the Olympics?

In March 2020, James Harden seemed committed to going to the Olympics.

“Of course that’s one of my goals to represent the USA and represent this beautiful country.”

The trio have never played an Olympic match together.

Harden is an Olympic gold medallist from London 2012. Kyrie Irving didn’t make the team in 2012 but did win gold in Rio 2016. Kevin Durant is a double Olympic gold medallist from 2012 and 2016.

Durant and James Harden helped lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012

They have stayed close since that time.

What about Kyrie Irving?

In comparison, a partnership between James Harden and Kyrie Irving is unknown.

The USA team from the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain is the only time the pair played together.

USA won their fifth title and Irving was the tournament’s MVP.

The link up with Irving remains under question currently due to his absence from the team for undisclosed ‘personal reasons’.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on-court for the Brooklyn Nets

What about the rest of the deal?

The AP reports that:

Victor Oladipo goes from Indiana to Houston, and Caris LeVert goes from Brooklyn to Indiana… The Cavaliers will get Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets in the deal.”

On future draft picks ESPN states:

“Houston also receives Brooklyn's three unprotected first-round draft picks in the deal -- in 2022, 2024 and 2026 -- plus pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027….

“The Rockets also get Cleveland's 2022 first-round pick, via the Milwaukee Bucks, and Houston is sending a 2023 second-round pick to the Pacers.”

OK, show me some jokes

The complexity, and pure excitement, of the deal meant Twitter was full of great reaction.