The Houston Rockets traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday in a massive, multi-team deal. While it remains to be seen how much success this transaction will actually produce, the sheer quality of talent involved has led to some pretty high expectations.
On Wednesday night, following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 128-99 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony Davis was asked for his opinion on the Harden move.
“They look good on paper, and we’ll see how it goes when those guys get in between the lines and get a chance to play alongside each other,” he responded, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
Davis’ comments raise an important point. Although the Nets look good on paper, what with already having Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the roster before acquiring Harden, chemistry matters. Add to that the fact that Irving is very much a question mark right now, and doesn’t seem particularly interested in playing alongside Harden anyway, and you see why a Nets championship isn’t exactly inevitable at this juncture.
Big picture, though – Davis no doubt understands and sympathizes with the frustration Harden felt in Houston. He felt something similar with the New Orleans Pelicans prior to be trading to the Lakers.
A few months back, when Harden and then-teammate Russell Westbrook first demanded off the Rockets, Davis offered his thoughts on the entire situation.
“I think that those guys just want to win,” he said on Posted Up w/Chris Haynes. “Like I said, I was in that situation last year, you know, where I wanted to win. And I was able to get the job done, you know, the following year.”
That’s all it comes down to at the end of the day – winning that elusive chip.
Who could’ve predicted that having a threesome with your brother could end so poorly. https://t.co/wifkDzyL6x
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 14, 2021
“You want to be a champion,” Davis added. “You want to have that feeling. So like I said, those guys are probably in that stage right now where they want to compete for a championship.”
Davis knew that demanding a trade from New Orleans would make him unpopular for a brief period of time, but he believed that ultimately the ends would justify the means. He was right.
Will Harden be proven similarly correct in the way he went about orchestrating his exit from Houston? That’s for history to decide.