James Harden has added teams to the mix, but his original trade demand was to go to Brooklyn. Those talks have gone nowhere, at least in part because Houston wanted more than a trade package built around Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen (and maybe Spencer Dinwiddie).
The other side of that coin — or the Nets’ spin on the talks — is they have cooled on the Harden trade idea due to Harden’s former coach Mike D’Antoni weighing in. That and seeing the potential to contend with what they have in house. At least that is what The Ringer’s founder said on his flagship podcast, the Bill Simmons Podcast (hat tip to Clutch Points).
“I heard that Brooklyn cooled of on Harden and one reason was D’Antoni, they were like ‘were good, lets keep what we have here, Harden presents some problems,’” Simmons said.
We don’t know Simmons’ source, so take this with a grain of salt. This could be Brooklyn leaking something to save face: “They don’t want our guy? Well, we didn’t want him anyway.”
There also could be some truth to all of it: Houston may not love LeVert, and the Nets may want to wait to see what they have.
While Brooklyn is off to a 3-3 start, it has looked like an unstoppable contender at points this young season. While the Nets have some defensive questions to answer (and Harden doesn’t really help with that), they look like a team that can challenge Milwaukee and anyone else at the top of the East come the playoffs. Trading for Harden radically changes the team dynamic; the Nets may want to see how the team they have looks over a stretch of ground before deciding on Harden either way.
Harden’s trade demand remains in a holding pattern — he’s playing well for the Rockets, but Houston is still demanding a huge trade package for the former MVP and no other team is stepping up to meet that. The Rockets plan to wait the market out, and that will take a little time.