How the Rockets should learn from the James Harden trade
The Rockets should take advantage of the growing tension in Dallas. They have a player who can help them now and make their superstar happier, and they have the future financial flexibility to take on Davis Bertans' contract. That alone checks two boxes the Mavericks absolutely should be racing to check. The cost is a future first that the Mavericks do not want to give up.
Unfortunately, when you create a horrible situation for yourself. You don’t get a cascade of great options. Instead, you get a sampling of bad options, and it’s your job to pick the least bad one. Adding Eric Gordon to the rotation and getting off of Bertans contract, all things considered, is about as good as the Mavericks can do. While saving first-round picks to package for a superstar to pair with Doncic sounds great, it only works if Doncic is still around.
The Rockets are no strangers to facilitating trades in the hope that their trade partner’s fortunes take a turn for the worse. The James Harden trade was executed with the belief that the Brooklyn Nets would be in significant decline by 2025. There was always the risk that the Nets were still relevant, but right now, it looks to have been a wise bet. On a much smaller scale, the Rockets should make that same bet with the Mavericks.
In 2022, superstars leave, and being on the treadmill of mediocrity is the fastest way to reach that inflection point. If you wait too long to land a big fish, the storm may swallow you up first. There's a deal to be made that helps the Mavericks. It's up to them to determine what is the greater risk; Luka Doncic wanting out because this current team isn't cutting it or Luka Doncic wanting out because a future team isn't cutting it.