With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant both hopefully returning to full health this coming season, the Brooklyn Nets seem primed to become one of the Eastern Conference’s most dangerous teams. Still, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for change-ups in the roster. Miami will be looking to repeat their Finals appearance, Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming off his second-straight MVP season, and Boston, Toronto, and Philly all have serious potential to pop off.
To compete with those eastern contenders, not to mention the stacked squads of the Western Conference, Brooklyn could try to add a third superstar to the team. They have a lot of talented players who could easily enter trade discussions, and a third weapon would put them on top of a league that’s currently driven by All-Star duos. But who could the Nets add in that role?
It might be costly, but it wouldn’t be impossible for the Nets to acquire James Harden. If Houston wants to shake things up in the post-Mike D’Antoni era, Harden could buy them a whole future worth of talent. Brooklyn, as much as any other team, has that talent to offer, and it’s difficult to imagine a better get. A package of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, and this year’s 19th draft pick would give the Rockets resources they desperately need. A bit of a longshot? Sure. But here’s what it could look like.
Houston Gets Size, Depth, And Youth
A trade package from Brooklyn could mean the strong start of a new era in Houston, should the Rockets want to go that route. Dinwiddie and LeVert are both expert ball handlers in their prime, each with All-Star potential, and each capable of maximizing Russell Westbrook’s scoring potential off-ball. LeVert looked like he was coming into his own as a league star in the Orlando bubble, and he’d be a great younger piece for Houston to build around.
In Jarrett Allen, the Rockets would gain rim protection and desperately-needed size on both ends from one of the NBA’s most promising young centers. Taurean Prince would help in this regard as well, providing a solid rebounder and wing player. Prince has struggled a bit during his time in Brooklyn, but a change of scenery could be exactly the thing needed to help him shine.
Throwing in the Nets’ 19th draft pick would add yet another young player to fit whichever style Houston decides to move in. All in all, Brooklyn might be the perfect trade partner if the Rockets decide to go for a major change-up before next season gets rolling. Houston keeps major scoring potential, capable defense, and a superstar-level veteran, while adding substantial depth and versatility. LeVert in particular is a star in the making, and he could be exceptional outside the shadow of Kyrie, as he was in the bubble.
Brooklyn Gets An Unstoppable Big Three
If the Nets acquired James Harden, they’d have the two most dominant scorers of the last 10 years. On the same team. Kyrie as playmaker for Harden and Durant on the wings would be a terrifying prospect for any opposing squad, given both players' capability to knock down shots from virtually anywhere on the floor.
And that’s before even taking DeAndre Jordan into account. While his performance this past season was less than what fans may have come to expect from the big man, he’s still one of the league’s leading fives. The Nets would be giving up a lot of capable depth in this hypothetical deal, but they’d still retain some notable firepower. Joe Harris and Garrett Temple would remain in the picture, as would Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, who showed major potential in the bubble.
It’s true that Brooklyn would take a hit on defense and overall depth, but they would also automatically become the NBA’s best scoring team. Plus, given Harden and Durant’s past displays of defensive prowess, the team might not even take that much of a hit, especially given that both players would be able to rest more on offense with the other there to rely on.
The iso-ball potential of a Kyrie/KD/Harden trio would also be unmatched, maybe in the history of the NBA. All three players are masters of getting their own shot and embarrassing defenders, and there hardly seems to be a team with the stopping power to hold all three at bay with any regularity. The notion of this trade would probably get massive backlash for appearing unbalanced, but that doesn’t change the fact that it would make the Nets an incredible show to watch and the de facto favorite in the East.