Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets

Report: Nets asked about Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, but Rockets wanted Deron Williams. Talks died.


In the NBA there are more trades discussed than there are in your fantasy league. Just very few ever get off the ground in any real way.

Take for example a conversation between the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets that took place before Brook Lopez went down for the season, according to an report (via Nets Daily).

According to a league source, the Rockets had preliminary talks with the Nets last week about Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. Talks never gained any steam, but the source said the Rockets were doing their due diligence and Williams’ name came up. The Nets balked because one of the main reasons Pierce and Garnett agreed to a trade to Brooklyn was to play with Williams, according to the source.

That was never going to happen, especially with how Deron Williams has played well, but these kinds of conversations take place a lot. They just never rise to the point that the GMs get involved in any kind of serious discussion.

That said, expect some moves out of New York because Brooklyn is in a bind — they have traded away or agreed to swap picks for every one of the next five drafts. They simply cannot decide to write this season off, tank and rebuild via the draft. Their pick this year will go to Boston, although Atlanta has the right to swap out that pick first (Boston would just get the Hawks’ pick).

Their only choice is to try and win now, which means flipping the bad contracts they have for likely worse ones in an effort to get some more talent on the roster. Good luck with that strategy.

It is possible Jason Kidd takes the fall for this (and he has had his flaws, as you expect in a first-year coach), but this is not his doing. It is all about Mikhail Prokhorov the owner and GM Billy King. This mess is their roster.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.