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Nets give up future, Cavs get involved

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James Harden in NBA bubble
The Nets finally trade for James Harden. Photo from CBS Sports.

The Brooklyn Nets have agreed a trade to acquire James Harden from the Houston Rockets.

News of the trade was first broken by Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Shams Charania added what the package will include – Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen are being shipped out and the Rockets will receive four first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps from Brooklyn.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in on the deal. Cleveland is sending Dante Exum, and the Cavs’ 2022 first via the Bucks to the Rockets. Cleveland receives Taurean Prince and Allen. The Indiana Pacers get in on the action, too, swapping Victor Oladipo for Caris LeVert.

Brooklyn pairs Harden with his former teammate Kevin Durant. The Nets have mortgaged their future to put three All-NBA caliber players together (assuming Kyrie Irving returns to a basketball court in the near-future).

Depth becomes an immediate question for the Nets. Allen and LeVert were arguably their third- and fourth-best players after Durant and Irving. DeAndre Jordan‘s health and performance level is suddenly crucial. Prince hasn’t been the most reliable performer, but he was a useful player on the wing. The Nets sent out the maximum amount of first-round picks – they will hope this turns out markedly better than the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett deal.

Harden gets his trade

This is the trade the NBA has been waiting for. Harden’s initial trade request was targeted on a trade with Brooklyn. He has got what he wanted, but not before it got ugly. His quotes on Tuesday night will leave a bitter taste for his former franchise and many around the league – that’s not going to bother Harden. He is on a true contender again, and playing with one of his closest friends.

The analysis of this trade will run on for weeks to come. It’s a defining moment in the future of multiple franchises. The Nets have gone as all-in as they are allowed to – this is an almighty risk, but one that has propelled them into the inner circle of title contenders after a tumultuous start to the year.

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