James Harden's trade demand was an impossible situation for the Houston Rockets. Their long-time star wanted out, and there was really no way for them to get anything close to equal value in return.
After weeks of drama and speculation, the Rockets finally accepted a deal that included four other teams. They sent Harden to the Nets in a return that netted them Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, and four first-round picks.
At the time, it was viewed as a pretty underwhelming package for a guy like Harden, especially with rumors surfacing that the 76ers were willing to offer more.
Nevertheless, the world moved on, and the Rockets quickly realized just how important Harden was to their success.
Fast forward a few months, and Houston -- now sitting 14th in the West -- decides to make some more moves, this time involving the newly-arrived Victor Oladipo. On Thursday's trade deadline, they end up trading him to Miami for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 pick swap.
On the bright side, it does help Houston further its rebuild project. Unfortunately, though, when fans realized that the Rockets essentially gave up Harden for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, and a bunch of late first-round picks, they became the butt of jokes on social media.
Honestly, the Rockets should be feeling pretty bad about how badly they botched the Harden trade. As one of the best players in the league, it's quite obvious they could have gotten more for him, even in spite of their damaged leverage.
Of course, there's nothing they (or anyone) can do about it now. The best they can hope for is that they draft well with their stockpile of non-lottery picks.
No matter which way you look at it, they've got a long road ahead of them...