James Harden wanted out of Houston for a long time and he finally got his wish last Wednesday. Harden was very vocal about his desire to be traded over the past few months, expressing his desire to join Kevin Durant in Brooklyn or go to the 76ers.
A deal was pretty much imminent after Tuesday’s 117-100 loss against the Lakers when he said in the post-game press conference that the Rockets were “just not good enough … I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
That public display of a fractured relationship forced the Rockets to act. The rumors picked up more steam on Wednesday morning, with the Rockets ready to ship Harden either to the Nets or 76ers and a deal was done on Wednesday afternoon, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.
One Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype that the 76ers blew a chance to improve their roster and championship chances by failing to land Harden.
“I think Philly missed an opportunity and now is stuck being in the middle of the East,” the executive said. “They’re not as good as Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Boston, and in the end, Miami. They might just be a No. 5 seed by end of the season. Ben Simmons has not improved in one area of his game at all since coming into the league. He’s the same player today as he was in his rookie year, and teams have figured him out in the playoffs. He’s why they won’t go far.”
Another Eastern Conference executive said: “Brooklyn gave up a king’s ransom. Not sure why Cleveland took on Taurean Prince as well as giving up an unprotected pick swap. Harden is the best player in the deal, but Brooklyn is all in, and they have no protection in the future. Cleveland will look to dump Andre Drummond, and Jarrett Allen has a bright future in the league.”