James Harden returned to the court alongside his Rockets teammates earlier this week, and while the former NBA MVP says he’s “focused on being here” in Houston at the moment, trade rumors continue to swirl following Harden’s reported trade request.
NBA legend and TNT analyst Charles Barkley isn’t so sure that Harden will be able to adapt to a new team’s system if and when he leaves Houston. During an appearance on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin show, Barkley said that he hopes the Rockets will work out a trade with the Brooklyn Nets – just so he can see the Nets implode with Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant struggling to share the basketball.
“If I’m [Houston], give me that kid with the afro that I like a lot. Allen. Give me Dinwiddie, and give me LeVert and let the Rockets go forward with a really pretty good, solid team. I’d take that trade tomorrow if I’m the Rockets. Because like I say, you give me Allen, Dinwiddie and LeVert, and you’ve got John Wall now? We’re just as good as we were gonna be, but we’re not going to have that drama, and we’d have a pretty solid team.”
Per the ESPN’s trade machine, this exact 3-for-1 for Harden wouldn’t work – but could go through if the Nets add another player on a small contract like Bruce Brown.
Barkley also questioned whether Harden could adapt his game to a different offensive system.
“My thing with the James thing is… I don’t know if he can play in another system. That’s what, to me, is going to be fascinating to watch if and when he gets traded. Can he only play that one way? This notion that ‘oh if he goes somewhere.’ nah. He’s played the exact same way for six or seven years. He’s not going to get to Brooklyn and say ‘oh I’m going to stand around and watch Kyrie and Kevin.’ Like, I want the ball.
That’s what’s going to be fascinating wherever James go, because I think he can only play one way. And number one, it ain’t fun to watch. And he’s the best offensive player I’ve ever seen, but I’m not going to stand around and just watch him dribble the whole time. That’s no fun. And I guarantee you Kyrie and KD ain’t going to sit around and watch that.”