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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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5 of 5
Houston Rockets
Jusuf Nurkic #27 and CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

1. Rockets receive CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Trent, 2 First-Round draft picks for Harden and Danuel House

This final deal figures to be the most likely one for Portland to successfully complete, as it would be in the best interest of Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone to pull the trigger on this deal. It’s known that any deal for Harden will have to be an extensive package, as we’ve heard that teams have backed away because of Stone’s asking price.

This would be an example of Portland climbing the ladder to meet the necessary criteria, as they would be parting with a multitude of assets to get Harden. It’s not just that they would be parting with CJ McCollum, as any deal for Harden would almost certainly include him, because they play the same position and his salary would be needed, if they want to pair Lillard and Harden.

The Rockets would surely welcome the addition of Jusuf Nurkic, as they lack big men, which has essentially forced Christian Wood to play center, although his natural position is a power forward, in part because of smaller frame, which makes him a liability in the post on defense.

At 26-years-old, Nurkic is under contract through 2022 at an annual value of roughly $12 million per year for both this season and next year, which is a reasonably good deal for player who has averaged a double-double in three of the last four seasons. Nurkic posted averages of 17.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, and two blocks per game in 2019-20, albeit in a small sample size of just eight games, and continued his stellar play in the postseason, as he averaged 14.2 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Nurkic is also an underrated passer, as he’s averaged at least four assists per game in each of the last two seasons as well, which could be a nightmare for opponents, as he could help to create looks for Christian Wood. Nurkic could also be on the receiving end of open looks from John Wall as well.

Next. NBA analyst says Rockets will deal Harden to Sixers

The Rockets would also get back Gary Trent, who can provide a spark off of the second unit, and would essentially be replacing Danuel House in this deal, which would also be an upgrade over Danuel House, who has been inconsistent at best, and could benefit from a change of scenery. If the Blazers are serious about getting Harden from the Houston Rockets, this deal would get it done.

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