The Rockets have sent James Harden to the Nets in a blockbuster four-team trade that also involves the Pacers and Cavaliers, completing the unhappy star’s exit from Houston and setting up a potential superteam in Brooklyn, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.
Center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince are headed from the Nets to the Cavs in the deal, sources told ESPN, while the Rockets receive Cleveland guard Dante Exum and Brooklyn forward Rodions Kurucs.
Houston also receives Brooklyn’s three unprotected first-round draft picks — 2022, 2024 and 2026 — in the deal, plus pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027, sources told ESPN. The Rockets also get Cleveland’s 2022 first-round pick, via the Milwaukee Bucks, and a future second-round pick from the Pacers.
Brooklyn also gets a 2024 second-round pick from the Cavaliers. The Nets have three open roster spots to fill out their bench, if they choose — a $5.7 million tax mid-level, the minimum exception and likely a $5.7 million disabled player exception.
The megadeal reunites Harden with former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant in Brooklyn and positions the Nets, who also have All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, as a title contender in the Eastern Conference.
The trade was agreed to after the Rockets opted to keep Harden away from Wednesday’s practice, following the former MVP’s comments Tuesday that Houston isn’t “good enough” to compete for a championship.
Harden hired Jason Ranne and Chafie Fields from Wasserman, and they worked closely with the Rockets and all teams involved to secure the trade for him, sources told ESPN. Wasserman also represented Russell Westbrook and worked closely with the Rockets on his trade to Wizards.
The Nets are scheduled to visit the Rockets on March 3 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) — the last game of the first half of their schedules.
At the Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, the Nets moved ahead of the Bucks and are now the second-favorites, behind only the Los Angeles Lakers, to win the NBA title. The Nets’ title odds improved from +550 to +300.
“My first thought: It’s good to get James Harden to the East,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. “A lot of the dominant NBA players have been in the West for whatever reason. And it’s good to balance it out.”
By adding the three-time scoring champ, the Nets will be able to trot out a lineup of three players capable of scoring 25 or more points on any night in a collection of firepower to rival any Big Three in recent years.
Harden and Durant, who have combined to win seven of the last 11 NBA scoring titles entering this season, become the fifth pair of teammates in NBA history to play on the same team after winning multiple scoring titles, according to Elias.
Durant is averaging 29.9 points in his first season back from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon, and Irving was scoring 27.1 per game before leaving the team last week for personal reasons.
Harden, who had joined the Rockets after training camp began, is averaging 24.8 points this season after three straight seasons above 30.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.