Russell Westbrook just got traded to the Wizards in a blockbuster deal that brought John Wall to H-Town. While the move likely signals the intent by the Rockets to build around Harden, who is to say it’s not the start of a rebuild?
In the aftermath of another disappointing season, James Harden has reportedly made it clear to the Rockets that he wants out. The 3x Scoring Champ, even with his flaws, would be a massive get — and it’s no surprise that his name has been at the top of every trade rumor.
And while the superstar eyes the Brooklyn Nets, there is one team that stands out from the rest in the Harden sweepstakes: the Golden State Warriors.
According to recent reports, the Dubs inquired about a Harden deal before the Thompson injury, calling the Rockets before Draft night to see if they could pair the three star guards together. Nothing suggests those talks got very far, but who is to say they won’t re-engage now that Klay is out for the second straight season and Harden has had a limited interest on the market?
In a massive swap, the Warriors could break the NBA by acquiring James for a package centered around three players and a pair of future draft picks.
Golden State Warriors Receive: James Harden
Houston Rockets Receive: James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall, two first-round picks
Warriors Become A Superteam Again
Say what you want about Harden, but the dude can ball. Over 11 years in the NBA, Harden has emerged as one of the game’s all-time great scorers, with a career average of 25.2 points per game, a three-season streak of averaging over 30 points per game, and 3 scoring titles, he has more than proved himself on the offensive end. He also happens to be a former MVP and 8x All-Star.
In Golden State, his abilities would only be enhanced. In a system that emphasizes shooting and teamwork, he’d get a lot of touches and many opportunities to score off passes from his teammates. Alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, when he returns, the combined shooting/scoring ability would simply be too much for any team to handle.
The only problems for the squad would surface on the defensive end, where both Harden and Curry lack the edge. If Draymond and Klay can carry them to a respectable standing on that side of the floor, we’re talking about a team that could dominate basketball for years.
Rockets Reload With Young Talent
The acquisition of Wall was likely with the assumption that Harden will be there long term and trading your franchise player is never an easy thing to do — but it becomes easier to pull the trigger when you get offered a package that includes three exceptional young players.
In Wiseman, Houston gets a very likable, very talented prospect with a high ceiling. He averaged 19.7 points per game in Memphis, solidifying himself as a capable scorer. Because of Wiseman’s newly signed rookie deal, he’s not eligible to be traded until December 26th, but it’d be well worth the wait for Houston.
Wiggins hasn’t quite lived up to the hype, but the things he has been able to do at 25-years-old are undeniably impressive. If he can become more efficient, and show some improvements on defense, he can become a real centerpiece for Houston going forward.
The jury is still out on Eric Paschall, and we’re still figuring out if he’s good or just one of those guys who put up good numbers on a bad team. But he showed heart and tons of potential last season, things that rebuilding teams really seem to look for.
Add those players with two future picks (one of which is protected), and you’ve got a deal that’s pretty hard to turn, even if it’s for a franchise guy like Harden. At the very least, they would get to stay exciting amid a tough transition period.