Cavs get Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince in the Harden Blockbuster

After weeks of speculation and rumors, Houston Rockets star James Harden has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a three-team deal including the Cavaliers. This was then almost immediately expanded into a four-team deal as Caris LeVert was sent to the Pacers for Victor Oladipo.

The Trade:

Brooklyn Nets receive: James Harden

Houston Rockets receive: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, Nets 2022, 2024, and 2026 1st round picks, Cavs 2022, 1st via Bucks, Nets 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027 pick swaps with Rockets, 2024 Cavs 2nd

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

Indians Pacers receive: Caris LeVert

The blockbuster deal comes in the midst of James Harden’s controversial actions during the off-season, which spilled into the beginning of this season. Harden was clearly checked out, often traveling to Las Vegas in between games to party and he, along with the Rockets organization, received plenty of criticism from current and former players and staff members about the culture of the team. Harden held out for most of the offseason practices and many of his current teammates including Demarcus Cousins and John Wall quickly grew tired of Harden’s actions and attitude towards the team. A move was imminent and the deal quickly materialized after the Rockets decided to essentially remove Harden from the team due to being too much of a distraction.

Despite the admittedly rough fallout between Harden and the Rockets, Harden is still an MVP-caliber player, even if he is 20 pounds overweight. There’s no secret that if the Nets can get Kyrie to come back and find a way to motivate Harden, they might immediately be the favorite in the East to make the NBA Finals this year. With two MVPs and an elite point guard, the Nets look really scary on paper. However, at this moment, those are some huge ifs and it’s fair to have caution over the team’s potential moving forward. The Nets traded away their two best young players and pretty much all of their picks until 2027, so the franchise is clearly all-in on winning a title with this seemingly large gamble.

In terms of the other teams involved, the Rockets got their biggest distraction now in the rearview and they are set up nicely for a rebuild. However, I believe the two big winners of the NBA blockbuster were the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers. The Cavs moved an expiring contract, a likely late-first in 2022 and a 2nd in 2024 for one of the premier young big men in the NBA in Jarrett Allen along with Taurean Prince, who is a respected bench veteran. Allen is an elite rim protector, operates extremely well in the pick and roll, and it’s hard not to love his hair, so it looks like the Cavs have found their center of the future. As for the Pacers, they added Caris LeVert for the shell of Victor Oladipo, which is a huge win for Indiana. They were able to acquire one of the most talented up-and-coming players in the league for someone who likely wouldn’t be on the team next year. While these two teams were more minor players in the trade, they might be the ones who end up the happiest in the end.

The Aftermath for the Cavs:

After the Harden deal became official, the Cavaliers waived Yogi Ferrell and Thon Maker in corresponding roster moves for the two new guys coming in. Now, the Cavs get some healthy players, which is nice, but now the team has even more of a logjam at the center position and with big men in general. This could mean that they are looking to move Andre Drummond sooner rather than later while his value is high as an expiring contract who is playing extremely well. Drummond has had a double-double in every game he’s played so far, so it’s possible that a playoff team who’s thin at center would look to add him to bolster their roster into more of a contender. The Cavaliers will be an interesting team to keep an eye on in the coming weeks as there should be no shortage of trade speculation. There’s plenty of reason to be excited too because they’re off to a great start.

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