Even in a league with tremendous drama on the court, nothing surpasses the amount of off-the-court NBA drama between games.
The latest jaw-dropper was an absolute stunner of a trade: a four-team deal sending former MVP James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, Caris LeVert to the Indiana Pacers, and Victor Oladipo and a host of first-round picks to the Houston Rockets. For the full rundown of all the moving pieces -- and there are a ton -- check out all the details here.
Despite all the baggage that Harden is bringing from Houston to Brooklyn -- and the price tag the Nets needed to pay to get a deal done -- the appeal of the 31-year-old is undeniable.
Harden joins a Brooklyn team that already boasts a pair of Top 10 NBA talents in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. That should be the best Big 3 in the league -- provided Harden's attitude improves now that he's forced his way out of Houston and provided Irving gets back in touch with the team and actually suits up and plays.
But the acquisition of Harden cost the Nets a lot, both in terms of future draft assets (four first-round picks plus four draft swaps) and depth on their current roster, as LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Taurean Prince had combined to average 37.8 points, 17.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 2.4 steals, and 2.8 blocks per game this season.
So what does rookie head coach Steve Nash have to work with after the trade? Let's reset the Nets roster:
Forwards: Kevin Durant, Joe Harris, Jeff Green, Reggie Perry, Nic Claxton
Guards: James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie (out for the season with a torn ACL), Landry Shamet, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Bruce Brown, Chris Chiozza, Tyler Johnson
Centers: DeAndre Jordan
That's definitely a top-heavy roster, with three All-Stars and only one other player (Harris) averaging over 9 points per game. Brooklyn does have some flexibility to add players, as ESPN's Bobby Marks points out.
Brooklyn has 3 open spots available.
The Nets have their $5.7M tax ML, the minimum exception and likely a $5.7M Disabled Player exception. https://t.co/w92QwNtJYp
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 13, 2021
At 6-6, Brooklyn was off to a disappointing start to the season after being installed as a favorite to come out of the East. It remains to be seen if the addition of Harden will right the ship, but one thing is for sure: whether it works or not, the Nets are going to be must-see TV the rest of the way.
Buckle up, NBA fans.