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The Harden Trade (but not that one)

The Harden Trade (but not that one)

The Houston Rockets have traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal, according to multiple reports.

Here’s the full trade, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This deal obviously has serious implications throughout the league, but what about for OKC?

The most important thing to note is the pick swap owed to Oklahoma City in the upcoming draft. That swap is top-4 protected and also includes Miami’s selection. OKC will receive the two most favorable of its pick, Miami’s pick and Houston’s pick.

While this trade certainly makes Houston worse, it shouldn’t bring them into top-4 pick territory (barring some lottery luck).

The Rockets will now theoretically boast a lineup of John Wall, Victor Oladipo, P.J. Tucker, Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins. Danuel House and Eric Gordon are still there, too.

If Houston can re-assemble its chemistry with Harden out the door, that roster should fall into OKC’s sweet spot: competitive enough to stay out of the basement but not good enough to make the playoffs.

Oklahoma City also owns Houston’s draft picks in 2024 and 2026 (both top-4 protected), as well as a top-10 protected swap in 2025.

Those picks are too far into the future to attempt a legitimate projection, but expect them to be top-20 selections — at a minimum — until Houston is able to land another young star.