Con No. 3: Harden is one of the best in the world
James Harden is irreplaceable. His league-best isolation scoring has made him the best offensive player in the league. No player is as good as Harden at creating buckets all by themself.
The Rockets cannot win a trade where they move James Harden. That’s the reality of having one of the best players in the world and it’s why teams do just about everything in their power to acquire one.
The Lakers gave up Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and a whole host of draft picks to get Anthony Davis and they still easily won the trade. The Pelicans couldn’t make the playoffs last season and the Lakers easily won the championship.
The Rockets will get back a ton of value for Harden but it’s simply more valuable to have value concentrated into one player instead of across three or four. The only way the Rockets could maybe break even in a Harden trade is if they’re able to snag Ben Simmons in a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers or Kyrie Irving in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets.
Even in the unlikely situation where they’re able to get a young All-Star in return for Harden the value is tied to the fact that the player will be good for longer, not that they’ll ever be better than Harden is right now. The Rockets should only trade Harden if they absolutely have to, unfortunately, that’s looking more and more like a possibility.
Next: Con no. 2