Rockets: 3 deals to trade James Harden to the Bucks

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

2. Houston Rockets receive Khris Middleton, Donte DiVincenzo, draft pick

In this deal the Bucks would be giving up a deal centered around two-time All-Star Khris Middleton, who fits the criteria of the star player that the Rockets are seeking for Harden. At 6-foot-7, Middleton has the size to play either forward position and can even play shooting guard if need be.

Middleton is a career 40 percent 3-point shooter, and would thrive alongside a pure point guard like John Wall, who would create open looks for him. Middleton would also get his fair share of touches in Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas’ offense, which is predicated on ball movement and allowing everyone to get an adequate number of shots.

Middleton is one of the more efficient scorers in the league, as he’s averaged at least 20 points per game in three of his last four seasons, although he’s never averaged more than 15 shots per game. But for as good as Middleton has been, he’s certainly not a fair exchange for Harden, which is why the Bucks would have to trade the two first round picks that they have control of in the near future, which would sweeten the deal more.

The salaries wouldn’t match in a Middleton for Harden swap, so the Bucks would need to include a salary filler, and Donte DiVincenzo would be a wise addition for the Rockets, as he’s a 6-foot-4 ballhandler who can play either guard position, which the Rockets desperately need on the second unit.

DiVincenzo is currently averaging 11.2 points and 1.6 steals per contest (10th in the NBA) in 2020-21 and is shooting 47.1 percent from long-range, which ranks inside of the top-20 in the league. This trade package is one that would figure to intrigue the Houston Rockets’ front office.

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