It’s funny how now that James Harden might be going to another team, the national media notices that wow, he’ll basically make you a playoff team by himself. That, maybe, he should have won another MVP. Holy moly, he scores A LOT more than the next guy. Who knew? (As I keep saying, points are the metric most strongly associated with victory.)
Yes. We know.
People around Rocketsia seem quite focused on getting value for James Harden if he must be traded. But why? The Rockets WON’T get value, because outside of 3-5 players (who almost certainly wouldn’t be traded -Luka Doncic, Jason Tatum, Devin Booker) they basically CAN’T. So in the spirit of “Equal Value is Impossible” these wonderful trade ideas are offered. It truly is The Season of Giving in Houston.
(NB - The Trade Machine Says All These Trades Work.)
Phoenix Suns - Really Screwed
James Harden, Chris Clemons for Chris Paul, Cameron Johnson, Picks.
There is one fewer season on Chris Paul’s contract. the Rockets get a young player with presumed upside, some picks. The Rockets now start the Paul Wall backcourt, which is out of date, but still amusing to a few.
Neither team makes the playoffs, which makes that Suns pick really sweet. Chris Paul abandons basketball for seminary, believing himself in need of extra salvation.
Portland Trailblazers - Utter Betrayal
James Harden for Damien Lillard, Zach Collins, Picks
Nobody’s happy as two franchise icons unwillingly swap places. Portland must accept their idea of Basketball Satan as their savior. Houston gets an unhappy Mr. Loyalty, the guy who has stuck it out in Portland, lead his team, and never put a single foot wrong. Being a long way from Oakland isn’t going to make Dame happy either. Lillard mean mugs his teammates for a whole season.
Rockets get an eighth seed, and first round exit as the “Curse of Lillard’s Broken Teammates” continues. Wall, Cousins, Wood, Gordon and McLemore miss the playoffs. A valiant effort by Dame, Tucker and Martin Jr isn’t enough to prevent a first round exit.
James Harden is closer to Adidas US headquarters, an endless supply of legal pot, a “creative” legal approach to exotic dancing, and soon, magic mushrooms. He puts up 38/6/6/2 while seemingly asleep in Portland. Second round exit.
Toronto Raptors - Pascal’s Wager
James Harden for Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell, Picks
James Harden in “White Vegas”! James Harden enjoying the permissive nekkid dancing culture of Montreal. The Rockets get some guys who will never, ever be as good. This trade reflects the awesome mind powers of Masai Ujiri as he works his will on Rafael Stone to bring Toronto a ring. Harden is late to practice a lot, but Toronto wins the East, yet loses the Finals to an angry Pascal in four, as Siakam goes 28/20/7/5blks. He gets the vaunted 5x5 in Game Four of the sweep.
Pascal Siakam is the new Franchise Icon no one in Houston expected. Hakeem becomes his full time mentor, and Siakam adds a 3pt Dreamshake to his arsenal of weird moves.
The Rockets, more importantly, save some money in a couple of years. Hooray!
Los Angeles Lakers - Hollywood Ending
James Harden for Lebron James
Lebron James is older, and Hollinger’s Ghost Analysis (he hasn’t been at ESPN in quite some time) suggests the Champion Lakers add +4 wins in their James for James swap. This is probably because at some point Lebron will be old. It’s bound to happen.
Not this season, though. John Wall, Boogie Cousins, Eric Gordon, Christian Wood and a furious Lebron James beat the Lakers in six in the WCF, and defeat the Celtics in five for the title. Everyone laughs into a freeze frame for a Hollywood ending in Houston. Maybe Lebron really IS the GOAT? Lebron leaves Houston for good immediately after the ring ceremony. No one cares.
Denver Nuggets - Fight The Future
James Harden for Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr.
Denver abandons its development program to win now, and win it does, until it runs into the Rockets in the WCF. Denver can’t overcome Wall, Murray, Porter, Wood and Cousins, as the Rockets go with a massive frontcourt that simply overwhelms and immobilizes Jokic, while cutting off drives for Harden. Denver enjoys its highest regular season winning percentage ever as consolation, as the Harden/Jokic tandem rolls over most opponents with scoring output.
Boston Celtics - Swallow Me Lucky Charms
James Harden, Chris Clemons for Jason Tatum, Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, Romeo Langford, A. Nesmith, THE Nesmith, Another Nesmith, A Final Nesmith, Semi Ojeleye, six unprotected first round picks.
The Ghost of Betrayals Past (in the ectoplasmic form of Isaiah Thomas Secundus) comes for revenge upon Danny Ainge, after Jason Tatum states categorically that he’d never sign an extension with Boston, and even the word “Boston” itself causes him extreme nausea.
Despite losing much of their team, Boston brings in guys from all over and has a great season, because Brad Stevens’ offense works better with lesser players. James Harden almost goes insane, if not for the counseling and kind words of poor Kemba Walker, limping around like Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol”. It turns out Chris Clemons is taller than Kemba.
Houston wins three titles, and Rafael Stone dedicates all of them to “Danny - The Best Friend A Rookie GM Could Ever Have”. Danny Ainge disappears into the back country of the Wasatch mountains to find God, never to be seen again. His absence goes unremarked for three months.
Dallas Mavericks - Luka’s Forever Home
James Harden for James Johnson, Courtney Lee, Dwight Powell, Luka Doncic, the most convoluted first round pick ever, which will never convey, except for the rights to Chandler Parsons, somehow.
Everyone knows this is only right. Luka deserves to be someplace where people truly understand him, care for him, and know that he should just do whatever he wants, pretty much always. He’s reunited with Stephen Silas. Houston gets salary relief after this season as well.
Meanwhile, Harden and Cuban are seen at clubs all over the world. What Mark has always wanted was a really cool guy to hang out with and party, and now he’s got him. The Mavericks may have given up baby Harden, but Mark Cuban realizes that life is finite, and what he really wants to do is hang with James Harden, even if it kills him, which it soon does. There’s only one NBA Iron Man, well, two, but neither of them is Mark Cuban.
The Wall/Doncic pairing is effectively undefendable and the Rockets win two titles (the second with Wall hopping on one foot throughout the playoffs) before Wall’s foot actually falls off. Wall immediate begins his coaching career as Head Coach of Kentucky.
Philadelphia 76ers - Moreyballed!
James Harden for Joel Embiid, Mike Scott, Matisse Thybulle, Incomprehensible Pick Swaps
Everyone thought it would be Ben Simmons, but no! It’s Embiid! Because it’s 5% better for both teams, according to Morey’s proprietary ROYCE analysis model. A win-win!
The Sixers move Simmons to center, his natural position, where he flourishes along with Harden.
The Rockets adopt a “Three In” strategy with three centers. It doesn’t go that well.
Houston Rockets - Rererun It Back
Unhappy James Harden for Happy James (Xamez) Harden
The Rockets trade Miserable James Harden for Putatively Columbian But Cheerful James Harden (who simply gives up in disgust at trying to get most Americans to say his name properly and goes by the single moniker “Xoops”) while taking the number “19”, presumably in honor of Sam Cassell.
This all sounds great until it turns out that “James Harden” really is James Rodriquez, who is 5’11” and known mostly for playing soccer. Everton Football Club is similarly unsure what to do with its bearded behemoth new winger who keeps handling the ball, and tossing it into the net from great distance.
Neither player ever abandons his position that he, in fact, is James Rodriquez/James Harden.
Nearly every team has a trade which will work in theory! Hopefully Harden will open his eyes to all these possibilities.
This poll is closed