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One day after publicly announcing his frustrations in Houston, star guard James Harden was sent to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team blockbuster trade. Although such a large trade so early in the season is uncommon, Harden’s departure from Houston is all but surprising.
For months now, Harden has expressed a great desire to leave the Houston Rockets due to frustrations with the Rockets front office, as well as his longing for a championship ring.
The trade, which reunites Harden with former teammate and star forward Kevin Durant, came at an extremely steep price. Along with crucial players, the Nets gave up three future first-round picks, which in today’s league where draft picks are essential, leaves the organization in a must-win-now mode. Draft picks typically allow teams to rebuild or add young weapons. The higher pick a team has, the more likely they are to draft a future star.
With the new addition of former NBA star Steve Nash as head coach, the Nets are in a great position to win this year’s NBA Finals and potentially become a dynasty. However, if the team can’t return to Brooklyn with a championship trophy in the near future, the Nets will not be able to maintain their current big three.
For Rockets fans, however, they have a great future ahead of them. Although they lost a star player in Harden, they acquired new weapons to rebuild their franchise.
“I’m excited to see the Rockets in the upcoming years. They got a bunch of first-round picks over the offseason, so hopefully, they can rebuild their franchise with younger players,” said Keegan Lemke, a sophomore and Rockets fan.
Lemke’s favorable reaction is commonly seen among many other Rockets fans. Although dissatisfied with the way Harden handled the situation, they are ultimately happy going forward with the new additions of Victor Oladipo, Christian Wood, and John Wall.
“I would say, all things considered, Houston made the best out of their situation,” said Shawn Batnagar, a sophomore and Rockets fan. “After Harden wanted out, the Rockets lost all of their leverage, so getting such a massive haul in exchange for a disgruntled star was the best scenario.”
For Warriors fans in the Bay Area, news of a new big three brings up concerns. Following five straight NBA Finals appearances before last season, Warriors fans understand how dominant an experienced team of all-stars can be.
“As a Warriors fan, I understand the joy a franchise and its affiliated city can get when forming a super team. However, the Nets already had two stars, and with Harden forcing his way out of Houston, the Nets have become a super team,” said Atharva Abhyankar, a sophomore and Warriors fan. “The development of super teams is bad for the NBA as it reduces the league’s competitive nature. While the Warriors had a great team, only two players were at the level of KD, Kyrie, and Harden.”
Like most sports leagues at the national level, the NBA is a business before anything. The league will change and shift based on the money generated. Ultimately if a franchise has the money and cap space, nothing can stop them from creating a super team.
Although it’s too early to tell whether or not the Nets and Rockets will become winning teams in the future, their respective fans will continue to support them and cheer them on.
“Born and raised in Austin, I grew up loving the [Houston] Rockets, and although I’ve moved to the Bay, I’ll always support and wish the best for them,” Lemke said.