James Harden has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets by the Houston Rockets, according to multiple reports.
NBA insider Shams Charania reported that Harden was moved to the Nets as part of a multi-team deal involving the Rockets, Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Indiana Pacers. The Rockets sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for four first-round draft picks, four draft-pick swaps, Rodions Kurucs and Caris LeVert. LeVert is being traded to the Pacers by the Rockets in exchange for Victor Oladipo. Jarrett Allen and Taureen Prince are being sent to Cleveland in the deal, while the Cavs' Dante Exum will end up in Houston.
Harden has been on outs in Houston for what feels like an eternity. His slow-motion exit from Houston, where he's played for the last eight seasons, has revealed a corroded locker room and a ton of bad blood between the team's best-known players.
Rumors swirled for months around the team. Reports claimed Harden wanted to distance himself from owner Tilman Fertitta over the latter's support of Donald Trump. Deeply reported pieces from within the Rockets organization revealed disgruntled players trying to adapt to a lax system built around making the superstar happy. Houston reportedly cast about wildly, looking for a trade worthy of the record-breaking scorer.
All of that came to a head this week, when Harden bashed the team's level of talent publicly and claimed the situation in Houston was hopeless.
"We're just not good enough. We don't, obviously, chemistry, talent-wise, just everything, and it was clear these last few games," he said after a loss to the Lakers on January 12. ""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."
Understandably, that didn't sit well with his teammates. While John Wall was diplomatic about Harden's comments, DeMarcus Cousins shot back at the supposed leader of the Rockets. Cousins accused Harden of being disrespectfully the team regularly and added that he didn't care if Harden ever played for Houston again.
Rockets coaches agreed, keeping Harden away from the team following his incendiary comments.