Home SMARTPHONE James Harden heading to Nets, Victor Oladipo to Rockets in blockbuster trade

James Harden heading to Nets, Victor Oladipo to Rockets in blockbuster trade

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James Harden heading to Nets, Victor Oladipo to Rockets in blockbuster trade
Jeff Zillgitt
 
| USA TODAY

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The Houston Rockets resolved their James Harden problem.

The Rockets on Wednesday traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team deal also involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers, two people familiar with the deal told USA TODAY Sports.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until the trade is announced officially.

Harden, who was unhappy in Houston, is reunited with Kevin Durant, and if and when Kyrie Irving returns, this gives the Nets a super team in the Eastern Conference.

Rodions Kurucs, Dante Exum and multiple first-round picks are headed to Houston in the Harden deal. The Pacers will send Victor Oladipo to Houston for Caris LeVert, and the Cavaliers will acquire Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince.

The Rockets will receive four unprotected first-round picks: two in 2022, one in 2024 and one in 2026.

After Harden voiced a lack of confidence in the team following Houston’s blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, the Rockets needed to make a move fast. The team asked him not to attend Wednesday’s practice, and teammates, including center DeMarcus Cousins, were unhappy with Harden’s antics. The situation became untenable.

“We’re just not good enough,” Harden said after a 117-100 loss Tuesday night. “Chemistry, talent-wise, just everything, and it was clear these last few games.”

The Rockets had tried to trade Harden but couldn’t find the right deal. After Harden’s comments, Houston was motivated to jettison a disgruntled star. In return, they acquired an All-Star caliber player in Oladipo and coveted draft picks.

The Nets now have three stars – depending on Irving’s return – and the deal puts them in better position to contend for the Eastern Conference championship. Brooklyn is 6-6, but Irving has missed five games, including the past four due to personal reasons.

Oladipo, 28, suffered a serious knee injury in January 2019 but returned in January 2020 and then played in the bubble restart. This season, he has averaged 20 points and 33.3 minutes in nine games.

LeVert, heading to the Pacers, was averaging 18.5 points for the Nets as a part-time starter.

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