The Toronto Raptors shocked a lot of people when they found a way to sneak into the Kawhi Leonard trade talks and ultimately acquire the superstar. That ballsy move produced a championship – the first in franchise history. It also led to one of the most hilarious revenge plots of all time, with Masai Ujiri purposely waking Leonard up at 5:00 am every day in the bubble after he joined the Los Angeles Clippers.
Will history repeat itself for Toronto, this time with Houston Rockets superstar James Harden?
According to ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst, if the Raptors want Harden, they will need to pay a hefty price to get him.
“I’m sure it would have to be [Pascal] Siakam,” he said.
“I’m not sure, let me step back, but I would guess that the Rockets would want Malachi Flynn and then you’re looking at multiple first-round draft picks into the future. Probably lightly protected or unprotected.
“Siakam is a guy that still has a lot of value because he can play multiple positions, he defends, he plays both ends of the court, when he’s right — he’s not really right right now — and he’s signed to a long-term contract.
“You wouldn’t be trading for a guy you’d have to worry about. But still, I think Houston would want him and a bunch of other stuff and that’s where you get into difficulty.”
— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) January 4, 2021
Before the season even commenced, Harden demanded that the Houston trade him to the Brooklyn Nets. The front office refused, citing a lack of returning assets. From there, the former league MVP opened his request up a bit, insisting he would be okay with one of several other teams.
Thus far, no deal has come to fruition, despite teams hiring private investigators to keep an eye on Harden.
That said, the Raptors could produce an objectively alluring package. Siakam really is a promising young star, even if he isn’t quite playing like one at the moment. He and draft capital would make for, at the very least, an enticing conversation starter with Houston.
Paulina Gretzky knows what she’s doing.https://t.co/zfKrfjY8iP
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 3, 2021
Toronto, meanwhile, would get a tremendous superstar who is still in the prime of his career. So far this season Harden is averaging 33.0 points on 47.4 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Beyond just scoring well, the 31-year-old is also dishing out 10.8 assists per outing.
Obviously all parties involved are still very far away from striking a deal. But if one is ultimately reached sooner or later, it could be the rare instance when both squads walk away from the transaction as legit winners.