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
James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets, Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets James Harden trade not taken report card

The Houston Rockets landed an unprecedented amount of draft capital from the Brooklyn Nets. The Rockets essentially control the Nets’ first-round picks from now until 2027. After trading away the players that came as part of the mega-trade the Rockets netted another first-round pick swap from the Heat for Victor Oladipo.

All told the Rockets added four first-round picks and five swaps to restock their asset cupboard. That’s what the Rockets did, but what did they miss out on? As it pertains to the Nets trade, the Rockets did a good job moving off of players that didn’t fit their goals.

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Maybe their one regret was not taking a look at Jarrett Allen but paying a center who can’t create their own shot or shoot threes over $25 million a season in 2022 is a fool’s errand. However, the Rockets failed in not taking the deal the Sixers offered them.

Ben Simmons remains an excellent player. Is he a perfect player? No, but he would have been the best player on the Rockets last season and he’d make an interesting pairing with Christian Wood.

For as much as the Rockets have hinted that they were tanking this season directly following the Harden trade, they looked like making a charge for the playoffs. The wheels fell off and everything worked out for them in the draft lottery, but this was a team that could have and still could use Ben Simmons.

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For the Rockets failing to make a trade work with the Sixers, they have to get an F. Unless Daryl Morey was absolutely lowballing the Rockets in terms of draft compensation it is ridiculous that the Rockets didn’t take a 25-year-old All-NBA player.