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How all 4 teams won in the James Harden trade

Just one day after calling the Houston Rockets’ situation unfixable, former NBA MVP James Harden got his long-standing wish of being traded away on Thursday, January 14, Manila time.

Aside from trading their franchise player to the Brooklyn Nets featuring Kevin Durant and the still-absent Kyrie Irving, Houston also got two other teams involved in the overall deal, namely the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

And by some miracle, it looks like all 4 squads actually won their respective sides of the deal in a rare four-way winning situation, and here is the breakdown.

Brooklyn Nets receive: James Harden

Getting the central figure of the deal out of the way, Harden provides Brooklyn with yet another superstar player capable of dropping 20 to 40 points and 10 assists even on his worst day.

This is especially helpful to either boost or remedy Irving’s messy absence, given Harden’s valuable scoring and playmaking. If and when Irving comes back, he gives the Nets the final offensive jolt they need to cement themselves as top title contenders.

If not, then Harden can step in, step back (for three), and finish the championship pursuit he had with Durant back in 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Yes, the defense will be even more atrocious given the major assets the Nets gave up, but that’s a sacrifice they were willing to make to match the price tag fetched by a generational talent like Harden.

Go big, or go home, and the Nets certainly placed a big bet. Now the league watches intently on how it all pans out.

Houston Rockets receive: Caris LeVert (traded for Victor Oladipo), Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs

Rockets also receive: 3 Nets first-round picks (2022, 2024, 2026), 4 Nets pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027), Cavaliers 2022 first-round, 2024 second-round picks

In one move, the Rockets turned an “unfixable situation” into one of the most flexible futures a team can have in exchange for their disgruntled superstar.

For those who lost count, Houston now controls all 7 of Brooklyn’s first-round picks from this year until 2027, and Cleveland’s 2022 first-rounder. For context, a pick swap means the Rockets can exchange picks with the Nets on a given year if the latter team lands higher on that particular year’s draft.

With that big of a haul, they can either get a lot of enticing prospects, or package some low-ranked picks to get higher picks. The possibilities are endless.

Plus, they receive the expiring contract of Oladipo, a former All-Star from the Indiana Pacers with a sprinkling of role players in Exum and Kurucs.

If all goes well for Oladipo and his new co-stars John Wall, and Christian Wood, Houston can opt to re-sign him in this year’s off-season, but if their record continues to go south, both parties can just look elsewhere to save time and money.

Houston, you had a problem, and you fixed it.

Indiana Pacers receive: Caris LeVert, 2023 Rockets second-round pick

The Pacers had a simple issue here, and they got a simple solution.

There were early rumblings in the rumor mill that Oladipo didn’t want to re-sign with Indiana after this year, and the team acted quickly to receive LeVert, a high-potential combo guard locked to a decent contract until 2023.

The Pacers are steadily improving with 2020 All-Star Domantas Sabonis now leading the way, and LeVert can help boost playmaking and scoring alongside other high-quality starters like point guard Malcolm Brogdon, and defensive big man Myles Turner.

Low-key, but effective. That’s what Indiana is known for all these years.

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

On paper, the Cavaliers are a tall, messy heap.

Their front court is now obscenely jam-packed with Allen and Prince joining Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr, JaVale McGee, Cedi Osman, Thon Maker, and top rookie Isaac Okoro.

But obviously, Cleveland is not done wheeling and dealing as Drummond is on an expiring contract this season, and the often-injured Love has wanted out for years ever since their Big 3 with LeBron James and Irving fell apart in 2018.

If the Cavaliers get a nice wing player for some of their extra big men, they could be looking at a lineup led by Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr, Okoro, and Allen, who has flourished as the starting center in Brooklyn.

Prince is also an under-the-radar acquisition who can do a little bit of everything, and is not far removed from his starter days with the Atlanta Hawks.

Cleveland may not be headed back to the top of the league just yet, but they are making much-needed strides to get out of the bottom for sure, and that’s all they and their fans can really ask for. –