Houston Rockets: Grading the James Harden trades not taken

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Jarrett Allen #31 of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets James Harden trade not taken: The Cleveland Cavaliers trade

What if the Rockets had just taken Jarrett Allen? It’s a fair question to ask in retrospect. He is certainly better than Dante Exum and it’s unlikely that whoever the Rockets select with the Bucks pick will be better than him.

However, the Rockets weren’t just trading Allen. Taurean Prince headed to Cleveland as part of the deal as well. Prince is a fine player who can play both of the forward spots and hits his threes at an above-average rate.

Every team in the NBA would love to have Taurean Prince, just not at $13.9 million and then $15 million. It was just Prince the Rockets were squeamish about paying either, they weren’t sure they wanted to pay Allen as well.

Related Story. James Harden’s Rockets’ exit is a cautionary tale

Jarrett Allen was in the final season of his rookie deal and reports indicate that the Cavaliers are preparing to sign him to a $100 million extension. How much sense does it make to trade for Allen and pay him $100 million when you already have Christian Wood making half of that?

The Rockets probably should have held onto Prince and seen if they could get more than a Bucks 2022 first-round pick for Allen but bringing him to Houston never made much sense. If the Rockets had brought both Prince and Allen in they might have been better but they wouldn’t have been a playoff team and they’d have an expensive ill-fitting roster headed into 2021-22.

Houston Rockets Trade Grade (if they had kept Allen and Prince): B-