Making the deal work
As currently constructed this deal would see the Nets send Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert to the Houston Rockets for James Harden. The problem is this deal wouldn’t work, as the Nets would still be $8 million short in matching Harden’s incoming $40 million salary.
Since the Nets are projected to be at $140 million in salary cap commitments they cannot add salary through this trade. The Nets could send DeAndre Jordan and his $10 million contract but he is one of Kevin Durant’s close friends and the Houston Rockets likely wouldn’t want him.
The Nets have a bunch of marginal players they could add to the package to make the money work but they would end up sending the Rockets close to five players for one and then they’d have to include a mountain of draft capital.
The Nets have all of their first-round picks from 2021 on and own Philadelphia’s 2020 first-round pick as well. A team with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden is not going to be picking in the lottery so the Rockets should expect a massive haul of picks. The issue is, the Nets don’t have nearly enough picks to match the recent precedent for a superstar trade.
When the Clippers acquired Paul George they surrendered three of their own first-round picks, two from the Miami Heat and two pick-swaps. The Nets would have to include at least three first-rounders and two pick swaps to have enough to get Harden. Would a deal like this be enough to entice the Houston Rockets?
Next: The final verdict