Rockets News

Rockets: 4 trades for James Harden from the Portland Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles past James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles past James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers and James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

3. Rockets receive CJ McCollum, Zach Collins, Gary Trent Jr., First-Round pick for Harden

If the Blazers want to pair Harden with Lillard, it will force them to give up CJ McCollum, which is a no-brainer on their part, as Harden is a clear upgrade over McCollum. McCollum is a nice player, as he’s averaged 22.5 points since becoming a starter in 2015-16, in addition to making 40.3 percent of his threes during that span.

But McCollum doesn’t fit the definition of what the Rockets reportedly want for Harden, as they’re seeking a young star, and McCollum has never made an All-NBA team or an All-Star team. This means Portland will have to add more pieces to the trade, starting with their first round draft pick in 2023, which will surely be a non-negotiable for the Rockets.

In addition, Portland will likely have to throw in Gary Trent Jr., who is certainly an emerging young prospect, as he averaged 14.6 points per 36 minutes during the 2019-20 season, in addition to making 41.8 percent of his threes. Trent is having an even better start to the 2020-21 campaign, as he’s currently averaging 25 points per 36 minutes (13 points per game) on 58.8 percent from deep.

These two players and a draft pick won’t be enough to get the deal done, so the Blazers likely will have to include Zach Collins, who would be a great addition for a Rockets team in need of an additional big. At 7-feet-tall, Collins 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per 36 minutes in 2019-20, in addition to making 33 percent of his threes.

Collins is still developing his game, which is to be expected, as he’s only 23-years-old. His 3-point shot has improved during each of his first three years in the league, as he made 31 percent of his treys during his rookie season, which improved to 33 percent last season, which is currently at 36.8 percent this season.

Portland will have to at least give up this package if they want to have a chance at Harden, and this quite possibly might be where the negotiations start, meaning they should be prepared to give up more assets than this for a generational talent like Harden.

Next: No. 2

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