- What does the signing means for James Harden
It’s no question that James Harden wants out of Houston. Yes, he played last night but not without some comedic volume from fans of the league regarding what appears to be Harden’s weight gain. His preseason debut was nothing to really write or talk about as he scored 12 points in 21 minutes. Moreover, Harden is not expected to be fined by the NBA for his refusal to talk to the media after the game which is interesting considering the NBA fined Kyrie Irving for not wanting to talk to the media and subsequently called the the “Pawns.” The Rockets look to remain somewhat competitive with the additions of G John Wall and signing of the former All-Start C Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins, and of course their role players such as Eric Gordon, Christian Wood, and Daniel House. But the talent in the West is just too good so the Rockets would be looking at a lower playoff seed at best and are subsequently stuck with a slim chance of reaching the Finals even with retaining James Harden.
So does Giannis’ signing impact Harden’s future in Houston at all? The best answer is probably not. Harden has expressed his desire to leave Houston because of their lack of ability to win an NBA title and a few other reasons. It looks like all Giannis’ supermax deal does is perhaps change where Harden might get traded. Houston has inquired that they would only be interested in trading either to Brooklyn for Durant or Kyrie OR Philadelphia for Ben Simmons and others. Sixers GM Daryl Morey came out said that he thinks Simmons could possibly win MVP thus potentially ruling them out of a trade with Houston. I believe that Brooklyn is out. I also believe that would have been a catastrophic disaster for the Nets had he gone there even though many in the NBA media have said otherwise because HC Steve Nash could have dealt with the potential drama. So are there any other teams who could go after Harden?
Trade Destinations for Harden:
Toronto, Miami, and Dallas. I also think you should throw the Raptors into the mix. Harden hasn’t expressed any desire to go to Toronto but the Raptors have proven they can make it work when it comes to guys not wanting to be there (see Kawhi Leonard). Toronto could offer some pretty decent compensation especially if they are able to get a 3rd team in on the trade. However, if I were Houston, this would not be the best option. So where do you go next? You have to consider Miami. The Heat were willing to give a max deal to Giannis even after they gave one to Bam Adebayo. Would they be willing to spend a bunch of money on a ball hog who will undoubtedly take touches away from their other playmakers? Probably. However, if I’m Houston, I’m asking for AT LEAST G Tyler Herro, G Jimmy Butler, and multiple 1st round picks. I doubt Miami lets Butler go but Herro plus multiple 1st round picks might be enticing for Houston. But it’s hard seeing Miami going after Harden at this point. Moving to Dallas, I would be pretty nervous if I were a Dallas Mavericks fan. Though, they may not part with budding superstar G Luka Doncic, I have a feeling owner Mark Cuban and co. would be willing to deal a lot of their younger players plus some first round draft picks. For a team who is on the verge of taking over the West, this could be a head scratching move for many.
Of course, you could throw in some other subpar teams like New York or Chicago but I HIGHLY doubt he winds up on a non-contender team.
2. This signing is great for the NBA AND Giannis
For Giannis: this proves what we thought…Giannis has to be better to put his team in a position to win it all. He’s young, his team is young, it takes time. People want to compare Giannis situation to LeBron leaving Cleveland to head to Miami and, for once I will agree with him, their respective situations are very different. For one, Giannis has been a super star for maybe 3-4 years. Moreover, the Bucks have only been a title to contender for about 2 seasons, arguably just this last season. On the other hand, LeBron had been with the Cavs for 7 years, competing for a title for 3-4 years prior to his departure. So, Giannis still has a ways to go until we can see those similarities.
Giannis is showing his loyalty to his first team. He’s showing that he has bought in to whatever is going on in Milwaukee and believes that this is the best place for him to compete for a championship. It shows that he has room to grow as a player in this league and shows that he recognizes his faults. I also think that this will help Giannis legacy overall. We saw a similar situation with HOFer Dirk Knowitzki and his loyalty to remain with the Dallas Mavericks until they won a title. Now, will Giannis have to do better than Dirk in order for this move to remain in Milwaukee to be a success on his part? I think so. He probably has to win more than one title and completely dominate the competition. At 26 years old, he is definitely on his way to do just that. It’s just a matter of time when he and Milwaukee can put all the pieces together and become a multi-championship team. Overall, his decision to stay in Milwaukee is tremendous for the him to become the next face of the NBA in due time.
For the NBA: Remember when I mentioned LeBron? Well, truth be told, people were not happy when he left Cleveland the first time. Nor were they happy when he left Miami. No one really cared when he left Cleveland. But it seems that NBA fans really like when a player sticks to their original team and wins. It almost has that “American Dream” effect where someone comes in and works really hard, doesn’t take shortcuts, and ends up on top. Well that is what this signing is making Giannis to be. Now, yes, I know having Giannis in a bigger market such as Miami or out West could really help boost ratings. But, if I’m the NBA and I’m looking to have more parody in the league and wanting to hear the fans out in discouraging from players leaving these smaller teams to create “super teams”, this is great. The NBA is constantly looking to expand to other markets and, if this signing pays off, will be a huge win for small market teams. LeBron left the small NBA market in Cleveland for Miami. Kevin Durant left the small NBA market in Oklahoma City for Golden State. As I said, those guys left after more time with their teams than Giannis has had with Milwaukee. But, if he can win in the next 2 years, this will be great for small markets and other potential NBA markets like a Seattle, Vegas, Kansas City, St. Louis, or Louisville.
I might 100% biased in these takes but I could give you 1000 more reasons why this was a great signing for both Giannis and the NBA. More importantly, if you’re like me and wanting to see the NBA expand the league to other markets as well as increase the amount of parody within the league so we aren’t always watching the same teams/players come June, you love this signing as well.