Would the Rockets trade James Harden to the Warriors?

Houston Rockets James Harden Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Houston Rockets James Harden Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /
3 of 4
Houston Rockets
Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

How to make the deal work

While the Rockets have been positioning themselves to shed payroll this offseason, they won’t be able to do so in this deal because Golden State is so far above the luxury tax threshold. The Warriors, before signing any of their draft picks, have $140 million in salary commitments for 2020-21, which prevents them from taking on salary through trade.

For the deal to get approval from the league office, the Houston Rockets will have to receive $40 million back in salary to match Harden’s outgoing number. With Wiseman penciled in for close to $7 million the Warriors will still have to send close to $33 million more in player salary back to the Rockets.

Andrew Wiggins, the 2014 first overall pick, has not lived up to his pre-draft hype but is still only 25-years-old and most importantly has a $29.5 million salary for 2020-21. Wiggins has shown flashes of the player that people thought he could be but hasn’t been able to consistently deliver in the NBA.

It’s a testament to Wiggins’ talent that after averaging 19.7 points per game over his career he’s called a disappointment but that’s the upside he possesses. If the Rockets are able to get the best out of Wiggins then their rebuild could be more of a remodel.

The Warriors would still need to dump close to $4 million more in salary to make the deal work which would see Kevon Looney and his $4.8 million salary head to Houston. The part of the deal that will cause the most contention will be in how many first-round picks the Golden State Warriors will have to surrender.

The Warriors, thanks to the trade that netted them Andrew Wiggins, own a Timberwolves first-round pick and all of their own picks between 2021 and 2023. The Rockets would have to receive the Timberwolves pick, multiple first-round picks from the Warriors, and pick swaps down the line.

Would a deal that sends James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, three to four first-round picks, and multiple pick-swaps to Houston for James Harden be a trade worth making? It depends on what direction the Rockets intend on heading.

Next: Should the Rockets even consider it?