The James Harden situation in Houston is quickly coming to a breaking point as the malcontent superstar said in no uncertain terms that nothing can be fixed with the Rockets last night. It does not appear Harden is going to quietly go about his business while the team works to trade him for an acceptable package. Something's gotta give.
Thus, rumors have begun to circulate once again about the Brooklyn Nets' interest in Harden. The latest report comes from Nick Wright, who says that the Nets are still very interested in the former MVP and will give up anyone not named Kevin Durant to acquire his services.
Brooklyn is currently dealing with the issues of their own mercurial superstar in Kyrie Irving, who has dropped off the grid entirely and hasn't played a game in over a week. That's why Houston has no interest in a Harden-for-Kyrie swap. They aren't going to trade one player who doesn't want to be in a Rockets uniform and isn't afraid to act like it for another.
But the Nets should not be jumping at the opportunity to give up a Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett-type haul for Harden, as Wright suggests they are. Harden is certainly much better than either of those two players were when Brooklyn acquired them for three unprotected first-round picks and a first-round pick swap. The likelihood of Brooklyn bottoming out so completely (like they did after the Pierce/Garnett trade) and those picks ending up in the lottery is much lower. Regardless of what happens with Kyrie, the Nets would be very good for the next two years at least, and perhaps longer.
But it's still a massive risk to take. Just because Harden and Durant played together early in the last decade does not mean they will work together as teammates now that they're fully-realized NBA players. We saw that whole scene acted out in Houston last season. Harden is not helping matters with the way he's trying to force a trade from Houston. What happens if he does end up in Brooklyn and decides he doesn't like it here, either? Does Brooklyn really want to deal with that along with whatever Kyrie will be up to after giving up all their assets?
One could consider that bet worth making if the outcome is a championship. A trio of Harden, Durant, and Irving is certainly a ring-winning combination. If all goes well. Given everything that has transpired over the last week, that is a massive if. And Brooklyn shouldn't mortgage their future again for an if.