NBA: Kiwi general manager Sean Marks brings superstar James Harden to Brooklyn Nets
Sean Marks and his newest star, James Harden. Credits: Image - Getty; Video - Newshub.
Brooklyn Nets' Kiwi general manager Sean Marks has reportedly executed another blockbuster trade, acquiring All-Star guard James Harden from Houston Rockets to create the NBA's newest 'big three'.
According to ESPN, Harden will be reunited with fellow Most Valuable Player and former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant, as well as virtuoso point guard Kyrie Irving in a complex four-team trade that cements the Nets' status as favourites for the NBA Eastern Conference crown and title contenders.
The deal is the latest in a series of high-profile trades engineered by Marks - who added Irving and Durant last year - that have transformed the previously ailing franchise into a genuine championship force.
Houston reportedly receive guard Victor Oladipo from Indiana Pacers, guard Dante Exum from Cleveland Cavaliers, forward Rodions Kurucs of the Nets, three first-round draft picks from the Nets, one unprotected 2022 first-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers and the right to swap four first-round picks with the Nets.
Guard Caris LeVert and a second-round pick will go from the Nets to the Pacers, and centre Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince go from Brooklyn to the Cavaliers, with Cleveland sending a 2024 second-round pick to the Nets.
The first-round picks Houston received from the Nets are in 2022, 2024, 2026. The swaps are in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.
The 31-year-old Harden has been attempting to force his way out out of the Rockets since the start of the new season.
That discontent came to a head after a heavy defeat to Los Angele Lakers on Wednesday, when Harden told reporters that his team was "just not good enough".
"It's something that I don't think can be fixed," he added.
The reigning three-time NBA scoring leader and All-NBA first-team guard will add even more offensive potency to the Nets, who already possess two of the league's best scorers in Durant and Irving.
The challenge for new head coach Steve Nash and his talented staff - which includes Harden's former Rockets head coach, Mike D'Antoni - is to make the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Mystery already surrounds Irving's availability for the immediate to long-term future. For the past fortnight, the 2016 NBA champion has been unavailable to play due to "personal reasons", but was recently caught on camera maskless at a party.