What James Harden Leaving The Brooklyn Nets Would Mean for the Houston Rockets

N.B. Lindberg
Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns
Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
3 of 3
James Harden, PJ Tucker, Houston Rockets
Cocktail Party Mr Porter At Perchoir Du Marais. / Victor Boyko/GettyImages

Even if Harden Leaves as a Free Agent That Could Hurt the Rockets

If Harden leaves the Nets this summer to explore free agency the Rockets could still find themselves on the losing end. The teams with available cap space are all non-contenders, which means any team signing Harden would likely have to execute a sign and trade to land him. 

The Nets might not land a player as talented as Harden, but chances are they will land assets that could help them in the future, whether it’s picks or players. The goal for the Rockets isn’t for the Nets to never win a championship, it’s for the Nets to be in absolute shambles in a few seasons due to a bloated spreadsheet and past their prime players. 

At the moment, Harden remains a Net and no trade has been executed. While that could change at a moment's notice, the best available outcome for the Rockets is that the Nets continue to push all-in on right now with players over the age of 30 eligible for massive supermax extensions. 

The James Harden Trade Was About Betting Against James Harden

The James Harden trade was always about 2025 and beyond. The gamble was that the Nets would push their chips to the center for title contention in 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 and pay the bill from 2025 on. Losing Harden would be a step back for their 2022 to 2024 plans, but it could offer them a parachute in 2025 and beyond. The Rockets want the Nets to crash and burn. A Harden extension and the gentle ravages of time would be a step in the right direction. 

Next. What Recent Top-5 Picks Can Tell us About Jalen Green’s Rookie Struggles. dark