James Harden Shocks the NBA!

Gabriel Heater, Sports Editor

As of January 13, 2021, James Harden has taken the NBA by storm as he heads over to the Brooklyn Nets joining forces with Kyrie Irving and his former teammate Kevin Durant, creating a new super team in the eastern conference. The Nets have acquired James Harden through a four-team trade that includes the Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Through this mega-trade, the Nets have traded Caris LeVert, Rodions Kurucs, three first-round picks, and 4 first-round swaps to the Houston Rockets, along with Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers while receiving a second-round draft pick from the Cavaliers. The Rockets have also acquired Dante Exum and a first-round draft pick from the Cavaliers. Through this deal, the Rockets have traded newly acquired Caris Levert to the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo according to nba.com.

Over the past few weeks, Harden has been the Spotlight of all NBA Basketball news as numerous trade rumors began to spread leading up to the James Harden trade. Harden’s recent behavioral tantrums such as skipping practices with the Houston Rockets to visit the local clubs. Also, James Harden’s appearance in giving Lil Baby one hundred thousand dollars and a brand new Prada bag for the rapper’s 26th birthday. Through all this drama James Harden has made his decision final and demanded to be traded from the Houston Rockets in search of a championship-contending team.

Brooklyn Nets fans across the world are in high hopes considering the Nets franchise has only recorded two NBA Finals appearances and yet to win a championship. Although Kyrie Irving has missed 7 games as of now, Durant has made his Nets debut, looking healthy and lethal after missing the 2019-2020 season. He wasn’t present last season because he tore his Achilles against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the 2019 finals, not to mention acquiring a new triple-double machine. 

Though it is still early in the 2020-2021 season the new big three in Brooklyn have been putting up impressive numbers so far. Coming back from a potentially career-ending injury Kevin Durant has exceeded our expectations as he leads this new Nets team in points and blocks (Tied with DeAndre Jordan) per game as he averages 31.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists (Tied with Kyrie Irving), 0.8 steals and 1.4 blocks per game so far. Despite Kyrie Irving’s trending absence on the court, the talented point guard still averages 29.3 points, 5.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game. Newly traded James Harden has also performed well early on this season as he has averaged 23.6 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game according to espn.com.

Going off of stats, this revamped Brooklyn Nets team is not one many teams wish to face as the Net will virtually have a 20+ point offensive threat on the court throughout the game whether it be from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or James Harden. This trade has potentially impacted the entire league as the Brooklyn Nets are now seen as real championship contenders threatening teams such as the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76’ers, and the Miami Heat in the eastern conference and even teams such as the LA Clippers, Lakers, and the Denver Nuggets in the western conference.

Like many trades in the past, this recent blockbuster trade has sparked up a few conspiracy theories over the past few weeks including the absence of Kyrie Irving and the almost shape-shifting physique of James Harden. The absence of Kyrie Irving has raised several questions on his motives for missing out on a substantial chunk of the early 2020-2021 season. Though these rumors are still relatively small, talks of Irving purposefully missing out several games for the means of lowering his trade value to acquire James Harden. Despite these small rumors Kyrie has debunked these rumors stating that his absence was used to help and serve communities as he is fortunate to do so and as an escape to keep him mentally balanced during a press conference.

 Other rumors have recently popped up about James Harden and the trade as some people speculate that he might have worn a fat suit to further persuade the Rockets organization to trade him paired with his noticeable decline in effort playing for the Rockets. These speculations have arisen after photos of James harden have gone viral showing hardens noticeable weight gain despite pulling off excellent numbers on the court during the start of the season still playing for the Rockets. After James Harden was traded to the Nets another photo of Harden went viral as it shows him drastically more lean than the previous photo. Though this weight shift is drastic, few occurrences have similarly happened before in such a short period in the NBA. Charles Barkley has reportedly gained 20 pounds in 48 hours to prevent himself from getting drafted by the Philadelphia 76’ers in 1984. Despite this occurrence is relatively rare in the NBA, drastic weight changes are more commonly seen in the world of boxing as professional fighters tend to cut water weight to make weight for their fights.

Despite all the rumors surrounding James Harden or the trade, Harden has seemingly revolutionized the league as his talents are now in the hands of an already talented Brooklyn Nets team. As we see things now the Nets are projected to make the playoffs and potentially the NBA Finals. The question is, will the new big three bring Brooklyn an NBA championship? Only time will tell.