Could Duncan Robinson, an undrafted and mostly unheralded role player, really be the reason a potential James Harden trade ultimately falls apart?
It is beginning to look that way.
According to Ethan J. Skolnick of 5 Reasons Sports, “the inclusion of Duncan Robinson is a major sticking point in the pursuit of Rockets guard James Harden.”
A follow-up report from 5 Reasons Sports noted that “the Heat are in active discussions with the Rockets…the team is trying to keep Duncan Robinson out of any package.”
Robinson is a nice player and objectively great shooter, but him being the hold-up in a potential deal for a former league MVP is pure insanity. Last year he averaged 13.5 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field, 44.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 93.1 percent from the free throw line.
In the playoffs, Robinson averaged 11.7 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting from the field, 39.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc and 86.8 percent shooting from the free throw line.
Now let’s review Harden’s 2019-20 production. He averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per outing while shooting 44 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from three and 86.5 percent from the free throw line.
Harden would add immediate offensive firepower to any organization he joined.
The idea that Robinson, of all people, could be the reason that Harden does not end up in Miami is lunacy.
Last week, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel broke down a scenario which would land Harden with the Heat.
“If the Heat were to entertain the notion of trading, there still would be the matter of enticing the Rockets and putting together the matching salaries,” he said.
“Harden is at $41.3 million this season, $44.3 million next season, with a player option of $47.4 million for 2022-23.
“So, yes, the Heat could start with something along the lines of the 2020-21 expiring salaries of Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala, plus Tyler Herro, and then filler, for Houston to get off the rest of Harden’s money,” he added.
“But is that enough for Houston? And for the Heat, who have to be mindful of the hard cap this season, it would lock in their salary book for years to come. Plus, would Harden-Jimmy Butler be a match? And would Harden’s ball-centric approach dissolve Bam Adebayo’s uniqueness as a facilitator?
“There is a lot to assess when it comes to a Harden trade, even beyond what would be sent out. This is a precarious position for both Harden and potential suitors. Or he just goes to Brooklyn.”
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 17, 2020
It is quickly becoming apparent that Harden’s days in Houston are numbered.
Will Miami ultimately be where he ends up? Time will tell.