The basketball world was sent into a frenzy on Wednesday afternoon as the Houston Rockets traded superstar guard James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a four-team blockbuster deal. The two other teams involved of this trade were the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers.
It’s a convoluted trade involving a lot of parts and numerous draft picks. The Pacers received Caris LeVert, the Cavs landed Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince, and the Rockets received Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodion Kurucs, and multiple draft picks.
Simply put, this was a major trade with a lot of players on the move that will change the landscape in the NBA. Along those same lines, we will see many fantasy basketball implications as players are now joining new teams. We are going to discuss those implications and more below!
Let’s start with the Nets, who landed the crown jewel of this blockbuster trade in James Harden. Harden steps into a situation with the Nets, where he’s flanked by both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
This season, Durant has looked fantastic coming off of his Achilles injury, averaging 29.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in 34.8 minutes per game. Meanwhile, Irving has looked good too when he’s played, but is currently away from the team.
With Irving still out and LeVert now in Indiana, Harden will easily slot into that Nets team as another ball handler and phenomenal scorer. This season, Harden is averaging 24.8 points per game, along with shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from distance.
Next up is Harden’s former team, the Rockets, with John Wall and Christian Wood having good statistical seasons. This season, Wall is averaging 18.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in 33.9 minutes per game.
Without Harden in the fold, Wall will likely have to carry a significant amount of the scoring going forward. But he will have help in Wood and now Oladipo. In regards to Wood, he looks like the steal of the NBA free agency period.
The 25-year-old forward is averaging 22.6 points and 9.5 rebounds in 32.9 minutes per game this season. We can expect Wood’s numbers to go up across the board to fill Harden’s production. Finally, Oladipo was averaging 20 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 33.3 minutes per game with the Pacers. He now goes to Houston likely as the team’s starting shooting guard paired with Wall.
The Pacers are getting a tremendous guard in LeVert, who can create his offense and score with the best of them. Heading into this season, the 26-year-old guard was a candidate to be Sixth Man of the Year.
However, LeVert now enters a situation in Indiana, where he will be a starter with point guard Malcolm Brogdon. This season, LeVert is averaging 18.5 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.3 rebounds in 27.8 minutes per game. The former Michigan standout is also shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from three-point range on 5.3 attempts per game.
The 6-foot-6 slasher was averaging a career-high 30.4 usage percentage and 108 offensive rating with the Nets. Those numbers should only go up with an Indiana team that could use an additional scorer to pair with Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis.
Last but not least, we have the Cavs who upgraded their frontcourt with acquisitions of Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince. As of right now, Cleveland’s starting center is Andre Drummond.
Therefore, it is hard to imagine Allen possibly starting at center or even power forward right now. But he gives them tremendous frontcourt depth and a rim runner, who could work well with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Prince was only playing 18.2 minutes per game with the Nets this season.
However, the minutes should go up into the 20s as the Prince brings them an offensive wing. We might even see Prince return to his form with the Hawks, where he averaged 11.4 points per game and shot 38 percent from behind the arc.