All right, Welcome back into SportsCastr news.
MBA Side of things Where is always on Adam Armed Brexit flying solo on a Thursday morning looking around the n b A.
And I hate to do it, but we will touch back into those same James Harden Waters one last time, I think, before the season officially gets underway here with preseason games kicking off.
And then, as we know that December 22nd restart fast approaching, there's, uh, listen.
Last time we talked on Tuesday, there was information around is hardly gonna show up.
When do they expect him? What will the ramifications be? Houston saying that they don't They don't plan on doing anything in terms of penalizing, finding etcetera when it comes to James Harden.
And since then, in the two days since he obviously has returned to the team, he's working his way through the testing and clearing the protocols that allowed to rejoin the team and fully get involved in the training camp wouldn't anticipate unnecessarily, even maybe being involved in the preseason games because there's a world where about Tiny clears everything.
What are you really going to glean from him on the court over the course of a preseason game or two.
That being the case, though, he is going to come back.
He is going Thio.
Rejoin the Houston team.
That hasn't been communication, as reported between James Harden and the front office of the Houston Rockets, but he has talked with the assistant coach there in Houston, at least giving an opportunity to maybe glean what else could be coming here.
And that's John Lucas, the assistant assistant coach there in Houston.
And while James Harden is now, listen, I think that is just a justifying their, uh, I think reality has to be setting in here a little bit on both sides, right? If you're the Houston Rockets, you've moved on.
Obviously from Westbrook, you've brought in John Wall.
Was that a move to at least take away a piece that wasn't meshing well with Harden? Sure.
Do you maybe hope that if healthy John Wall could be a different type of compliment to James Harden? Certainly we did touch on that a while ago, right here on SportsCastr aware.
If you look at the assist number specifically for a John Wall, if you wanna have a complementary piece, a guy that yes can score, but also can very comfortably differ and facilitate for James Harden and the rest of the players on this team wall could be that piece.
And I think that if you're Houston, you don't have to push the panic button here.
You don't have to move harden before you want to before the season starts.
Maybe you get in there, see what cousins looks like as well you brought in.
Christian would obviously get a look at what this looks like allow hardened to see what things look like.
And maybe he starts to turn the corner on it.
Even if you only end up getting, ah, year out of them.
Maybe you get to the trade deadline.
You see how that market shapes up for you.
But remember, he has two years plus the option left on his contract.
So there is a world where Houston just goes all the way through this season with James Harden on the roster, playing with Christian would playing with John Wall and you live with the results.
And then you wait to see how that free agency landscape shakes out next year, and maybe the version of what the Bucks were doing in order to get through holiday this year becomes what you can look to do next year with James Harden.
As you start to see Ah, certain team on the market say, Well, we are really desperate, right? We do really need to make a move here.
How do we go ahead and get a big name like Harden in to help push us over the top in whatever West or Eastern Conference playoff picture and really move the needle towards the finals? Here's the other piece, though, Uh, you know, initially it was Brooklyn or bust for James Harden.
Then I think you say Okay, well, those packages, maybe we're loosely discussed with Sean Marks there in Brooklyn.
We know that the Rockets want to get a high end young talent so they can continue to build back up and hopefully do it more quickly than necessarily a full tear down to the bones rebuild there.
And that's why you bring in a guy like Christian would, but it doesn't look like that package is gonna exist.
The young stars young quote unquote right.
Caris Levert. A nice player.
You like him as a Brooklyn guy.
I like him on the Nets roster, but is he gonna be a piece of entices them? Probably not.
And is Sean Marks willing to part with all of those assets? Probably not as well.
So you have to start to think that this is a move on from Brooklyn idea.
Then you get into the Daryl Morey Connection and the Philadelphia 70 Sixers.
Obviously, it's probably gonna be centered around.
Ah, Ben Simmons.
That's something that, yes, you could entice them there.
You can maybe think about what it would look like.
The package up the Onley.
Interesting caveat would be this Philadelphia who has had some struggles here in recent years, relative to expectations coming in.
Want to wait and see what Doc Rivers does? How does he impact that roster? You've made some little tweaks as far as the fringe players and supporting cast behind him Beat and Simmons and Tobias Harris, for that matter.
What do you want to do? Do you wanna wait and see what that looks like? And then assess what you need to move on from, because again, if let's say things don't look like they're trending in the right direction Ben Simmons.
Value isn't going anywhere.
You could revisit the idea of moving on from him at any point as you approach the trade deadline.
And then the sub factor there is, I don't know if they're looking to move him so much as in a scenario where you could get a James Harden and change the trajectory of your team and where you've been running these last couple of seasons, then maybe you're willing to look at it.
But this isn't just a will move off from Ben Simmons just because it may not be working.
He's still incredibly young, as is indeed, and again, it's not a need to push the panic button there in Philadelphia, a couple other teams have at least been thrown into the mix.
Here, though, of quote contenders, is that's where James Harden wants tow land that potentially he would be interested in.
So I thought we just take a quick look at a couple of these and and think about what it would mean if they wanted to put package together.
What would you need to stand back? One of the first ones that gets thrown out there is the Milwaukee Bucks.
Here's the problem.
The Milwaukee Bucks don't necessarily have a lot on the table.
Now, if you want to get into the numbers on it and then just on the details right, we know that right now.
The Milwaukee Bucks Air Onley running out seven picks over the next, all going through 2027 right? They don't have a first round pick after 2023 they don't have a first round pick in 2022.
So they sent out a lot of those assets in order to get through holiday.
When you look over the roster, you think about would it be a piece where you're gonna want to maybe center it around a Chris Middleton? You're thinking about players and get back in return again.
I don't know if that and really, that's just the reality, because what's the best value that you have on that roster right now that you could send to Houston? It's not gonna be a young star.
It's not gonna be someone like that because, barring honest and that's obviously not going to be the case.
But then you talk about newly acquired holiday at 30 talk about Lopez it 32.
They brought in D. J.
Augustine this offseason on a fairly big contract.
Obviously, he's not going anywhere.
You can think about smaller players like a 24 year old D. J.
Wilson and Bobby Portis that just got in there, though. Divan DiVincenzo.
These aren't names that are enticing you, necessarily.
So if this was going to be one of those guys, one of those teams that could be in the running for James Harden and really by the way, too this is getting mentioned because it is the Milwaukee Bucks, because they are at the top of the Eastern Conference and that's the baseline that you're trying to set.
If you're James Harden about places that you're willing to go by the way, and then this is the other thing that we kind of touched on last time is well.
But the reality is to that if you're you're doing a disservice here.
James Harden, saying that he only wants to go to a contender, saying that he's not really interested in playing for Houston.
Things were coming undone there.
What if it ends up being that an opportunity comes up for a second tier team, a team that's not considered to be necessarily championship caliber, but it could be close behind.
Maybe it's a four or five seed.
You know it's a seven seed, because, remember, you're James Harden.
You feel like you can move the needle.
So how does he look at teams in general around the n b? A.
And say, Well, if you added me there, they're going to go from a back end playoff team to vault them right up into conference title contention that that's the other aspect of it.
Because right now all the teams that were getting thrown out, that we're gonna look at a couple of that really dive into deep here.
Maybe we'll go into some of these fringe ones as well.
Our teams that are already established, as the Milwaukee Bucks are expected to do, be there at the end of the season, right, vying for a conference championship, vying to go to the finals.
So I mean, if that's the standard that Harden is going to be setting, then you're not.
You're already talking about content like you're talking about guys that are contenders without let alone with you.
So you're talking about going to a team that if you add me, it's not about contending.
It's almost about Go ahead and start engraving the trophy.
I want to go to a place where I get to do my thing.
And it's all but guaranteed quote unquote.
Nothing's guaranteed in the n B A or in sports in general, but all but guaranteed.
Then I'll find myself in the finals that I will be competing for a title, and I can appreciate that from where he's been in the time he spent in Houston.
And some of the sacrifices that he's made sacrifices is probably a big term.
He's gotten paid very well, But maybe he feels like he sacrificed a number of years in Houston without ever truly having a championship caliber roster that was capable of deep playoff runs.
That and that. And that's debatable.
You can say that, you know, as good as he's been, what has been the best version of it.
The caveat to it is you basically didn't want to play with Russell Westbrook.
They moved him out of town.
You basically didn't get along with Chris Paul. They moved him out of town.
So you're starting to also develop that connotation of being a player that's hard to get along with.
Hard to share the court with on hard to have a balance with.
If you're some of these other teams and other players there, so you're sending a bad message out to other organizations around that.
However, if you wanted to say, What is it going to look like in order to get James Harden, you can go ahead and take James Harden and say, You're going to trade him over to the Bucks.
You can say Listen, all right, let's let's live with it We're gonna go with the 29 year old Middleton as the piece here.
One of the reasons we can kind of get into the details a little bit around it is you're talking about a point guard and then you're talking about a forward coming back over the middle of it.
Now is well, supplement this just with a couple of the of the rosters and where the depth charts look like and how they would be impacted if you made moves like this.
The concern you're gonna have here is on the Houston side of it.
You can say, Let's go look over at that depth chart real quick and you talk about okay? Right now, you have.
You have John Wall.
If it's going to be James Harden going out, then currently got McLemore in behind him, maybe you try to grab another guy.
And let's say that you go down that list just for sake of argument and we want Di Vincenzo, right? Just give me a guy that's going to be able to come in the door and take over help contribute at that guard position.
But just, you know, supplement the spot.
And this is not about necessarily perfect fit. Ideal.
Who's gonna be? What, then you got Eric Gordon.
You have Christian would.
And that combination of basically p.
Tucker at the four can play the five.
As we've seen, Christian would complain here, the four of the five.
And then you think about cousins.
If you could be healthy, him coming in as well.
If you slot in, though, in a trade like this, where you're talking about potentially being able to put Middleton in a to three all of a sudden, Houston does.
I mean, it balances them out.
It gives you flexibility around.
And Eric Gordon, you could start to use him down even a little bit into the two guard role, and then you plug in.
A guy like Middleton obviously, is gonna improve your defensive side as well.
With length and size, you know what his offensive game is.
We've kind of proven to, I think in the time in Milwaukee, he's not the the number two to the true number two star that you want alongside Yanis necessarily doesn't mean he's a bad player.
But you do need a complement of talent if he's going to be your number, to quote unquote good, not great, maybe for Houston and also doesn't solve their long term issues.
And then, if you want to say, what's it going to look like in terms of maybe additional assets that you're gonna throw their way? You Obviously you have to give up a lot in order to get him in the door.
Now, Middleton does have value even if he is older, but you're still you're still talking about.
You want to send over Ah, protected pick of some kind.
But let's say that you're gonna have to trade over the 2021 1st round pick.
You're gonna have to trade over the 2023 1st round pick.
That's all you currently have listed out there right now, so you can throw a myriad of second round selections at Houston as well.
I It just doesn't match.
It doesn't match up is being Hey, there's enough here in terms of the value youth of the players coming back and ultimately, what that's gonna look like.
But we can take you.
Take a swipe at it and see if it's going to work.
When you throw this out there, the one problem you run into here is the Bucks would be crossing over.
There is a tax apron there that's involved 1 38.
9 million that's set for the league.
You have to find out a way, according to at least this quick run off.
How do you get 700,000 essentially off of the incoming value to remove it so that and that's on the Bucks side of things? It's not too difficult.
It just means you go ahead and you try to throw an extra body over at over at Houston, you can scroll down this list.
Look at any number of guys.
I could take Sam Merrill there at the back end of it, right, and just say, Let's go ahead and throw him into it on.
That's going to give you the 9 900,000 off the books, even this thing out.
So if I throw that in there as well, we could probably at least on paper, make the money lineup. But again.
And And that does give you success, sending over that $33 million contract of Chris Middleton throwing in DiVincenzo as well, and then in E.
Montgomery, who gave you 900,000 off the books there.
In this scenario, just as the caveat to and the thing with the Chinese trade machine, remember about who's been playing or not playing but Vincenzo Milton Both have, as has James Harden this projects to see a decrease in wind totals from last year for for Houston by by only three, though, So if you're going to lose James Harden but not necessarily lose a lot of winds off of it, that's not the worst thing in the world.
If you're the Bucks, this is a plus three.
Ultimately, what you're talking about is has this move the needle for us when we're talking about deep playoff runs in championships so quickly will take a peek over here and then this.
Honestly, this is not about this.
Probably the least likely scenario.
You don't have a young player, and you don't have assets to give up a swell because you've already surrendered so many in Drew holiday.
But you talk about If you bring in hardened, you can switch over.
Now you can switch holiday over to the to you can plug in harden at the point guard position.
Now you're shooting is the small forward.
Excuse me is gonna end up being Maybe, you know, Connaughton is gonna have to go into there.
That could maybe be a problem.
Yannis is your four.
You have Lopez at the five.
Bobby Portis is in behind them there.
So you're potentially opening up a little bit of a whole now the the the overall value of hardened relative to Middleton.
You take that, but you probably sell to figure some things out on a team that is relatively thin in terms of depth.
So there's a little bit of a concern there.
If you're if you're Milwaukee about making one of these moves and just how do you bounce onto that? Doesn't you? Wouldn't do it, But again, ultimately, I just don't see the assets being available there.
So let's back this one out here and let's try to flip it over to the other conversation.
Or at least the other team that James Harden would like to have thrown into the conversation.
That's the Miami Heat.
Now here's one that makes a lot of sense, because there's a ton of options here that you can look for in terms of getting this deal done.
So, for example, as we will just reset this completely when we think about getting into Houston's roster and trying to assess, how are you gonna match this? $41.
2 million going out? And how do you get young value coming back in and possibly also some assets? Right? And that, by the way, is the difference, too, of the Drew holiday in the package? Well, maybe if you're if you're giving up enough quality players in return the assets peace doesn't have to be as substantial as it looked like in that deal.
So if you throw harden over into this trade, though, sending him to the heat looking through it, Jimmy Butler is not going anywhere.
We know that much.
You're not gonna get Gordon Gordon drag, which isn't gonna go off the books there.
I mean, listen, you want to do that for a numbers game? Certainly.
But really, the guys that you have to think about is Obama Auto Bio and then a Tyler hero.
Now Bam, Out of bio currently represented, at least on this trover on trade MBA dot com not represented with his new extension that he signed.
So that's gonna look a little bit different in that regard.
Gonna have to probably do something here just to make sure that we're getting the value of his contract on the books for Miami so that you understand what needs toe happen going both ways between them in Houston in order to make sure the numbers all that up right now as it stands listed on that former cap hit off $5.
1 million That's not gonna do it.
That's not gonna not gonna e.
That would do it. I think it'd be excited to have that.
But it's not going to cover what you need to figure out from a bookkeeping standpoint, so we'll get that official number pulled up here in a second.
The other thing here is those who look at this extension for bam and just get the numbers on them.
Thea Other thing is, I don't again.
That's a hard one to push the button on.
And this is the weird thing about it.
When you talk about Philadelphia is being a trade partner, potentially for for the Houston Rockets, Ben Sim is the reason why I think it goes on the books is because Ben Simmons is just isn't an offensive player or at least doesn't have the offensive shooting that you wanna have in him.
So there's this weird mechanism of Yes, this guy is really good.
Yes, he could be a defensive all star and cornerstone for your franchise, but it needs to be supplemented with the quality of shooters around him that really makes you feel comfortable having him as your star.
You know, quote unquote the star, and the problem in in Philadelphia could be that well, with him.
Be there who can shoot from the perimeter, Certainly.
But you know his game is a blend across the board is not solely that he's not, you know he's not Yanis in the vein of having size and being a mismatch and also has all the abilities to play any position across the floor.
That's not gonna be Joel Embiid.
And then you have Tobias Harris, who's overpaid and doesn't really fill a role or or extend beyond the role that you have them plugged into.
So just a lot of Miss Miss fitting pieces there.
But that's why a young player like Simmons makes a lot of sense.
But if you're Miami, you're talking about a guy Azzawi just say here, 195 million over five years for, uh, for bam, out of bio.
So when you get into these ideas off bam, out of bio, be great, right? But he's 23 years old and he plugs in perfectly for Miami, and it's both the short term answer for them as well as the long term answer, and that that's the issue that you're running into Philadelphia may say Ben Simmons isn't the long term answer for us, but Miami looks Obama.
Tobias says, Yeah, this is one of the guys that we want to have around here, and that's why you end up having a realist.
So it looks like actually, it is in there.
The rookie extension will kick in for him, so he's going to run through that seven years now represents as 1 75.
His contract is for 184.
1 10 year total contract starting, so I'll make 5.
The qualifying offer was 7.
1 2021 then they go into the extension 28 30 and upwards all the way to 37 million in 2025.
So if that number is accurately represented, at least going into this season, we can try to move ahead with it.
If we want I, my thinking would be you want to get another guy and at the guard position.
If you think that John Wall could be healthy, then you're looking at Tyler hero and that's a guy that Miami as good as they as they may feel, he is as valuable as they think he can be.
That's a guy that they would move on from.
But again, the secondary problem you're gonna have here is Tyler.
Hero is on a nice contract.
That means that he's only looking at a $3.
It runs through 2023 as well.
Team option for 21 22.
It just four and then almost $6 million.
So very controllable piece, which is nice.
But how are you balancing the numbers out? Because if we just go ahead and try this trade straight up without getting into the assets, you're talking about a hard cap hit here.
That's 22 million that needs to get balanced out here on the Miami Heat side of things.
So, again, what are some other names that you could certainly throw out there? Listen, the Meyers Leonard, who they brought back, but he's accounting for almost 10 million.
The Kelly Olynyk piece you want to say You throw him into the books as well.
That's certainly an option to in terms of assets again, not a lot of picks available for Miami, though.
First round picks they do have.
They don't have a lot of supplemental picks, but 2022 they're going toe.
Have a first round of the other 24 25 26 27 1st round selections as well.
No second rounders there and then 2027 second round pick so they can throw in what they need to hear.
If you said Let's go ahead and send over that 2025 2026 to the Rockets, is it going to take a 2024 as well? Three first rounders on top of Tyler hero, maybe And again, when you go back into then the roster, are there enough valuable players that you could move on from the drag? Each piece? You could say Maybe if it's just about balancing the number 18 million there, so you get really close to that number.
I I don't see Houston necessarily saying that they want to take that on in order to make a deal happen.
They've been trying to keep their books fairly balanced and lower those numbers.
So you're looking at Maybe a buyout guy would be more likely and there's really not a ton of players across the Miami Heat roster for sake of argument.
And you probably you wouldn't necessarily do this, either.
In terms off Olynyk Meyers Leonard, where you can't throw in both of you guys, both big bodies, you do have Auto Bio.
Obviously, Iguodala is there on the $15 million deal.
Don't know if there's any implications around the trade exemption they used on getting him in the door, but let's say that we trade him over there for that $15 million number.
And then even then, it's still going to then take Let's just for argument's sake, say a Meyers Leonard as well.
When you throw that trade number out there again, letter now cannot be traded because he s so He's just been signed, so you have to await for him there so you can't even use him in on it.
I mean, this is why I get so tricky.
And I know this isn't necessarily the most tantalizing content here, but this is the problem.
We'll take a brief pause on it as I shuffle some of these numbers around to see if there's a workable figure.
Here's the problem is try to balance all of these books, right? Try to find a way that you get all the numbers toe.
Ach, up from a financial standpoint that you get enough assets on the table from a given team that maybe wants James Harden on it at that $41.
2 million number shy of moving on from a bigger name.
And by the way, drag.
It came back on a contract as well.
So you can't throw his $18 million into this mix even if you wanted Thio.
This is This is the issues that you're going to run into, though.
This is why it's going to be difficult for any team to find any team like this.
Any team that's a contender, that that's where James Harden quote wants to go to.
It's gonna be hard because they probably have committed money in and around it here.
The other thing is we go back into these pics because I threw in a consecutive consecutive first round selection, which you can't do as well.
So we're just gonna have to try toe line these picks up that we would throw into the mix here Let's say that they throw the 2022 1st round pick the 2025 the 2027 will stagger those out nice and neat.
We've thrown in drag Thio.
Sorry we've thrown in in this scenario.
Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk as well.
In order to do it, the heat take on an extra $10 million in capturing in the 41.
Uh, if you want to know about projected win win totals now, there might be a piece here.
I have to think about why these numbers? They're doing it.
But you're talking about this number.
So I'm not even good.
I'm gonna I'm gonna put it out there.
But the Miami he would be a significantly better team.
And now let's go ahead and try to take a look at How does that feel when you're talking about the Miami Heat, what their roster looks like? And then what? Houston's roster would look like? A Well, from that perspective on Houston, you're bringing a veteran like Iguodala.
You have to at least feel good that you're getting a quality player.
Kelly Olynyk can be a contributor, obviously as well And then it's Tyler hero.
So you're getting in a guard of forward and a center as well.
When you look at Houston, you're gonna go ahead and plug Tyler hero in next to John Wall.
That could be a nice tandem.
Iguodala is going to be able to supplement what you're doing with Eric Gordon was Sterling Brown there and at the three, maybe up to the four at times.
And then a guy like Kelly Olynyk would be a nice, safe safeguard, possibly against the idea of is DeMarcus cousins ready to go? Can he? Can he come and be a contributor? Is he going to be healthy? Is he gonna have another injury? Maybe it's a nice safeguard.
The picture, Really? What's the most valuable here in conjunction with Tyler Hero and the Tyler hero piece would be what you would need to do.
Assuming that Bam out of bio is off the table, can you make it happen 100%? On the flip side of it, you lose some pieces on the Miami heat, but you really don't lose anything.
That's going to say.
I know Tyler hero is young and he's valuable, but you're gonna look at it and say Yes, let's go ahead and take Tyler hero out of the two guard position.
Let's plug in and you had to shuffle this a little bit here, but you're gonna plug in at the guard instead of it is going to drag it. Okay, fine.
You have none behind them.
Kendrick Nunn, They're in behind them.
So now it's harden.
Now, now, drag, it is Ah, supplemental piece there as you've had, you still have Duncan Robinson without Tyler hero.
And then down the line you go Everyone else that you give up in this scenario Kelly Olynyk Andre Iguodala those air supplemental pieces as well You're giving up draft assets, but I think you'd feel comfortable possibly making this type of movies.
You're Miami because then it takes you from a team that made it to the final somewhat surprisingly this past year and now volts you into the stratosphere of watch out in the Eastern Conference.
We now have all of the defensive prowess that we wanna have here and on top of which we're getting a guy that could just take over and dominate offensively because that's not necessarily who are best player is, and you could say it's Jimmy Butler Right now.
They've been out of bio is coming fast behind him.
But Jimmy Butler is not a pure offensive machine.
Now You have that in a guy like James Harden, and you can help represent whatever upside you saw coming from Tyler hero.
Will you already have that known established peace in James Harden to take on that role there? So listen, if that's on the list and it's a possibility, yes, you can make those numbers work, and it would certainly be interesting.
The real issue is, though, again, if you're limiting yourself, because let's expand this thing out a little bit.
And think about the league in general.
One of the other teams that did get thrown out there as a trade possibility, not one of the destinations necessary for James Harden, but a team that was speculate.
I think it might have been through bleacher report, and that was the Boston Celtics and saying, Would you put together a package that is around a Jalen Brown? And who else would you throw into it? Jalen Brown.
Ah, Marcus. Smart.
Obviously, a guy like Tatum's gonna be off the off the off the table there in Boston.
So let's try to run that down one last time here and listen.
Give me some feedback in the chat box.
If this is you, do you want? Do you want to run through these scenarios? Do you want to make these numbers work? Do you not care? Are you? Are you experiencing James Harden fatigue, as I think some of us are.
Aya's Annette's guy have been happy to see that it feels like it's moving away from the Brooklyn.
That's being an option for a myriad of reasons that allows us to say, Okay, we don't have to over focus on it.
But there is still a world here where James Harden wants to be gone.
And if the right offer gets put in front of the Houston Rockets, then they'll pull the trigger sooner than later.
They're not pressured to, but there can be a scenario where you feel like, yes, everything lines up.
We can afford to do it coming into this scenario because they lost Gordon Hayward to free agency Boston, that is, they actually have money, you know.
They brought in a couple of pieces, but their cap number is in a good spot as well.
So let's theoretically throw James Harden over to the Boston Celtics.
If you're gonna work a trade like this, it's gonna be surrounding Ah, centered around a Jalen Brown.
He's on the books for 20 to almost 23 million, so it's good to start to get the numbers rolling in that direction.
Other guys, when you look across it now, you brought in some players.
Uh, you saw Daniel Types.
You brought interest in Thompson, other younger players that you may wanna look at You brought in.
Jeff Teague doesn't necessarily.
I'll blow anyone skirt up, and there's not a lot of other money around there.
So the two part piece here, you can look at it one or two ways.
You can swap both of these players, and then you get into that pic piece again.
Now 2021 2nd rounder.
There's an Oklahoma City exchange there for Boston.
Then they have their first rounder in 21 as well as an extra second rounder there, 22 multiple second rounders, another first rounder in 22 that I mean they have a myriad 16 picks.
So the nice thing here is you could go one of two ways.
If you're Boston because back on the player side of it, you can also say, How about a Marcus Smart? Would that be something that you would want to throw into the mix of just 26 years old? Two years left on a deal where you're talking? About 12.
9 million on the books currently for this upcoming season.
So now you're already getting yourself in terms of balancing the numbers out.
You're already up to 35 million north of 35 million coming into Houston, with that 41.
2 number coming out.
So those numbers are starting to match up pretty well.
Let's at least on paper, check to see if there's any issues regarding a trade like this.
Making the numbers work.
The Celtics become a 15 game projected better on the season, a wind total.
I don't don't know if you know how 100% accurate that be, by the way, Uh, minus 15 from last year projected wins.
These were all based on who came who went? Gordon Hayward was out.
He was there last year in Boston.
So how those things balance, that would be a little bit different.
But losing quality, obviously, uh, in James Harden off of Houston could be a concern.
An issue there and then the other piece.
And this is why it's an issue.
Uh, John Wall, who didn't play last year.
He's on Houston now.
He's not factoring into a wind total in these models because it's predicated on last season, then coming into this year.
So you don't get an opportunity to know what that looks like.
So it's somewhere in the middle, potentially.
But the very least, the numbers line up financially.
And now you just get into What else are you surrendering? Really? Boston does have the firepower to accomplish something like this.
Thio say, you, you know, what are you willing to part ways with? And just to be clear here, you have two years left on Marcus Smart.
Four years left on Jalen Brown.
So 20 for you like that there and even a couple of years of Marcus Smart helps improve you defensively, supplements you at the guard position as well.
Not the worst case scenario on and then knowing that you don't know what John Wall is gonna look like And what the long term plan is there with him.
When you made that swap with the Wizards and Russell Westbrook, so does it.
Take 2022 1st rounder.
And then you gotta throw a 24 1st rounder in there as well.
You probably put some protections on these, Obviously, that you're not too worried about it.
If you are the Boston Celtics, because you expect to be competitive going forward.
Listen, it's a pretty good package for the player baseline.
You have to like it.
And then if you could throw in upwards of three first round picks and not really damage what you feel like you're you're you're how you're hurting yourself in the long term.
And then when you talk about again, we'll run through this one last time.
Look over these rosters away Goes your to garden, Marcus.
Smart away goes Jalen Brown.
Now you can plug in.
You have Jeff Teague.
He was your insurance policy around Kemba Walker.
Theis, you here would be, you know, could be comfortable putting harden at the two guard, because when Kemba is back.
You're not gonna go to swap them around necessarily in that role.
Eso You're a little bit pigeonholed in that in that sense, Erin Naysmith.
And behind them there at the guard.
Really the garden, the small forward position as well.
Who takes over that forward role for you? You have Tatum.
You like that? And then again, the Tristan Thompson Thais piece Murky right.
It's an interesting roster here when you talk about taking out two players in Smart and Jalen Brown that have been, you know, pretty imp important.
I'm not going to say critical.
I'm not going to say elite, but they have been very important colleagues to what you've done there, and it makes you wonder if do you say yes, I like it.
But if I could hold onto Marcus Smart in the short term and you might not be the biggest needle mover, maybe I keep Marcus smart, and I'll see if this would still work.
Because again, remember, Boston has that flexibility.
This one still works.
If you take out Marcus Smart, you can still get James Harden over there, centered around a Jalen Brown as well as picks piece And then, if you're Boston, you probably feel even better about it because you're keeping smart in the mix there at the two guard.
You know, we could be on ball as well, but you just give yourself flexibility there.
And a guy in Marcus Smart, who we know hangs his hat on.
The defensive end would certainly be a nice combination between him and James Harden, saying, Yes, we have both of ourselves covered on either end of the spectrum here, Um, that's an interesting one Again, it's a team that at least has young talent in in a Jalen Brown.
Now, how do you evaluate him in terms of the long term projections? Yah a star in the making.
Maybe you know that that's that's tricky to say there, but I think that Houston would at least like getting him back.
And then it's the pick.
Well, obviously plays big there, and they got one first rounder back from Washington that Westbrook trade, so they can continue to build in that direction on Houston side of it.
If it's on Lee going to be Jalen Brown, then you at least have to take a look at it and say OK, in the short term, yes, we've got a talented player, a young player.
We feel like combining that with a Christian would also a young player.
We've got some things here, but you still have questions around.
Ultimately, you know P.
Tucker at his age.
When are you gonna be able to get in? You brought in Kenyan Martin Jr.
Through the draft.
Can he build up that four role and be a supplemental player? Is cousins gonna be healthy and back to whatever version of himself? And then in the big picture, what's next behind John Wall? If you're gonna put Jalen Brown in there at the small forward position, you can still say John Wall, you got McLemore there.
It's, you know, it's something I don't know.
I don't know if it's enough And then and then and then you just talk about the pieces, though.
You talk about the assets you have in the draft and saying Now we could go back in, fill out this roster over the next season or two, and maybe we do see ourselves right again.
When you when you think about a roster that would have a 24 year old Tristan Thompson.
Excuse me, a 24 year old Jalen Brown, and then you're also going toe have a Christian would on the roster.
Also young, 25 years old.
So when these guys air entering potentially their prime at 26 27 28 years old, probably on another contract for Jalen Brown, he has four years.
You're still right there, right? Big deal for for Christian would.
So they're on the same timeline.
You could bring these guys up to the edge of 30 and see what happens over the next couple of years.
And if you could get yourself competitive in the Western Conference, not Azizi out West is it would be in the East but could be manageable.
So putting Boston into the mix because they have young players there.
Certainly, I wouldn't be surprised if the idea of doing that, though, would be used in saying, Well, what's the deal with? What's the deal with Tatum? And obviously, that's not gonna be anything that the Boston Celtics they're probably gonna want to entertain, and that's where that could start to break down.
That's the issue that you're gonna run into these trade partners.
How are you going to find a team that has both the assets and the cap space and you know the destination.
If you're going to say that, it's about where does ah player like Harden wanna go? Because I could make the case for a lot of other spots that you can send them to.
It just it isn't gonna wanna be there.
Right? Um, let's just test a theory here.
I'll throw one more out before we get out the door, and I hopefully you find the idea of fleshing out some of these possible trademark.
It's interesting and entertaining, and I don't listen.
I'm not doing the ones where I just say yeah, give you honest for James Harden. Done.
We have to at least try to keep ourselves realistic around what's gonna work for both sides.
But I do have at least a curiosity that I want to flesh out here.
And just before I do get into a little bit of the players, what does it look like? And what could be possible? So let's think about in a world.
Let's send James Harden someplace that probably isn't on his list.
When you talk about contenders right and wanting to be, you wanna be in contention.
But if you don't wanna be on Houston, and by the way, if we get a trade offer, we'll entertain it if we want to.
It's not going to be about what you're necessarily solely looking to do.
It's also going to be How do we keep ourselves competitive? So let's pull up a team that made a splash this offseason, Uh, in and around that we just talked about the Boston Celtics player that was with them last season.
Now finds himself in a new location, and that's going to be the Charlotte Hornets.
Let's look over that roster and just dream a little dream here they have Lemelle Aboul.
Obviously, as we know, you can think about where he's gonna be best suited to play.
You can think about the idea of Terry Rozier, 26 not a super enticing piece.
What about, though? Ah Devonte Graham, who's a young player and then get into the assets and then maybe even a Miles Bridges, who's in behind a Gordon Hayward.
He's gonna be a supplemental guy.
There is well, could you say James Harden to the Hornets, something that he would probably scoff at and not want to do? But let's go ahead and throw Terry Rozier back over to the Rockets because we need to just get those numbers.
They're over there, by the way, and total cap.
As we start to balance these things out, you're staying in a good spot because the Hornets, even though they gave that big contract to Gordon Yeah, Cody Zeller at 15 Little North of 15 million and then Rose eared almost 19 million.
After that, it's all very manageable numbers for them.
Malik Monk at five Washington at four miles Bridges at just 3.
So what, what other player is it going to take me? Is it the Miles Bridges piece before you start to get into assets? If you wanted to throw a Miles bridges into the mix, let's just take a look and see if the numbers all crunch as they say.
This one works on paper, so that's good.
Now you can start to get into what else are you sending back to Houston to add extra value? Because Terry Rozier is a not not a total salary dump, but borderline, you know, 26 years old.
Big cap number two years left there, two years left on Miles Bridges.
At least a piece.
But again, not as enticing as a package.
Say that you're talking about around the Jalen Brown of Marcus Smart from Boston.
So let's let's throw our first round pick there in 2021.
Let's throw our first round pick in in 2023.
Let's throw the first round pick in from 2025 do we even dare say, the first round pick from 2027? Okay, we can throw your first four first round picks.
We have second round picks if we want to get into that vein.
And now you're talking about sending at least four first round picks, plus Terry, Rozier and Miles Bridges.
This is farm, or about getting extra assets and not worrying about this year per se so much as let's get to the draft classes.
Let's really try to make this thing work here.
If you're Houston and be able to package of picks and move around the board as needed to get yourself value, get up the board into the 10 to 12 range up into the top 10 if needed, because you could do it, target specific players and build your roster out from there.
The reason why at least find it interesting is, you know, can you could you? Could you say You're gonna put Harden into the two guard? You know what? Islam, Yellow balls roll, Definitely going definitively going to be there.
But him combined with a Gordon Hayward moves the needle for for the Charlotte Hornets.
And the only reason why I put this out there is because one it's a place that you probably wouldn't want to go, which might be in Houston's interest if they're just thinking about not feeling great about hard, not want to be a part of things on and then to you have an owner.
You have an owner there in in Michael Jordan that just went out and spent 100 and $20 million on a player like Gordon Hayward to try toe advance what this team is going to look like in the Eastern Conference.
If you add a player like James Harden.
Two that squad, knowing what you're giving up a couple of pieces there, and that's all fine and well, and you could swap out who these other guys are.
I think Terry Rozier is the biggest piece just to move the numbers off the books for you.
But if you talk about the Charlotte Hornets with James Harden and Gordon Hayward just James Harden alone, for crying out loud, name the team with the Orlando Magic Better than them.
I'm just going back to last year. Standings.
Washington Wizards Coin flip about.
If you're just better off with them with Hayward there as opposed to if deals still there with Westbrook.
Chicago Bulls Better Knicks Better.
You know Detroit Pistons.
Who knows? Atlanta search forward.
But even then, so you know, at the very least, you're already putting yourself into the mix.
And then you probably wanna throw yourself into the conversation about the Indiana Pacers right, who are five, who are a four seed but probably fall behind Miami this year.
Fall behind Philly this year, fall behind Brooklyn this year and slotting Maura around six or seven.
You're automatically probably a five.
I'll say you're probably a five seed in the Eastern Conference.
Just by doing that, let alone when you talk about these trade numbers as well, just to remind you, because without these on the books that that moves the cap hit there for the Charlotte Hornets toe 1 23.
But when you undo hardened being on there and you undo just Terry Rozier, so we get back kind of know where these numbers stacked up there only had 105 million.
So there's still room and moves that could be made here for the Charlotte Hornets.
Is there a secondary piece that they could talk about trying to bring in to continue to reform this roster on the fly? That's a team that at least is interesting or teams like that because you're just talking about the possibility of a team that is desperate enough.
Toe Look at the Houston situation, has the assets as a Charlotte Hornets team does in terms of draft capital and says, we want to get better right now, and everyone has talked about the move you make to bring in Gordon Hayward.
But all these other guys, they're young, Okay, so let's move another couple younger guys.
Let's bring in a James Harden and then Let's look at the landscape and see if there's another veteran type of player, maybe a big that you could bring in and helped to bolster this team as well.
Those are the type of teams.
Theoretically, fringe teams like the Hornets think that you know they are. Right now.
I think there are fringe playoff team.
See what happens if the year goes on.
Washington comes interesting.
Iniesta's well, but fringe playoff teams have to be the ones that are in the market for a move like this and have to be the ones that Houston is most interested in.
If they have the young talent, potentially and then also, that's the sheer volume of assets that you could get back.
If not the player you can.
You can entice them with enough assets to make this happen.
So then you think about teams out in the West.
I think Phoenix has already taken a jump for themselves, so you take them out of the fringe in terms of the back end there.
The Memphis Grizzlies, obviously, you know the Spurs never gonna I don't wanna say never gonna happen, but would be hard pressed to think that that would happen for the model and type of franchise that they are.
And then the Kings come into that mix.
There is Well, uh, you know, there's been a least mild speculation about Could you make yourself increasingly better if you're the Golden State Warriors by fishing around something like this because you've lost Clay Thompson because you're in a little bit arguably of desk operation mode.
If you want to get the most out of what you currently have on the table, that's his two Western Conference teams swapping around.
So that's a little bit tricky.
$174 million on the books there because it includes Clay Thompson as it stands right now.
Hard to, you know, hard to see this being the case.
I'll just put it that way, and maybe we stay away from it.
Um, but the other team that we just highlighted there, you know, is the Let's just let's just do it, for instance, real quick here before we get out the door, because now I get excited.
Now I'm starting to get enticed about what is possible for a couple of these teams, you know, both doing teams in the Western Conference seems a little tricky as well.
I think if you're Houston, you wanna both strengthen your team or your outlook while weakening the conference you're playing and not necessarily strengthening it.
Especially in a year like this, where you're gonna end up seeing Western Conference opponents more frequently more in conference games.
Would you ever In a world, I mean rants their young.
Are the Memphis Grizzlies remotely interesting? If you could have a James Harden at the to because you know Marantz 6 ft three, gonna have a hard time probably has length there in terms of defensive, it's just a mildly interesting one.
Again, I don't I don't know what you're sending back, and you probably just don't have the e.
They have plenty of pick assets, that's for sure do mildly interesting.
I probably stay on the side of, of just being in the Eastern Conference and thinking about what team has the ability to move to move a piece and really make a splash and, you know, really make a splash that impacts the way you perceive that team coming into this year, we already mentioned, of course, the 70 Sixers being in there outside of that, there's not a lot of action here for May.
There's not a lot of other places that you'd really be excited about to make a move for.
Let's take one brief look at the Chicago Bulls just to think about where the roster is, how it stacks up.
You gotta Kobe White there.
But again, I just don't There's not enough.
There's not enough happening on that roster for me to think that.
And this isn't about this.
This isn't about James Harden.
Its about the Chicago Bulls.
Do they think that they're in that position right now? No.
And I don't think they're desperate enough.
I think that they you finally bringing a guy.
You finally bring a new head coach.
Donovan, you finally feel like you're gonna start trending in the right direction.
I'll take one last shot in the dark here.
If not the team from Brooklyn.
What about the other team in Brooklyn? What about those New York Knicks? Let's dance in those waters before we get out the door.
Here. You're the New York Knicks.
You wanna be competitive.
You want some splash.
You were talked about with the Russell Westbrook piece.
Possibly right when we know. Right Gordon.
Sorry, Gordon hardness.
You know, play with the to with Westbrook at times and the tandem of that.
But let's just let's go ahead.
Let's go for it.
Let's trade James Harden over to the Knicks now.
J Barrett piece isn't going to be a needle mover for you.
You can say that you can move on from a Julius Randle just to kind of match up some of the numbers.
Peace maybe give you also a little bit of flexibility.
If you're using.
He's only 26 years old.
The contract is two years left, 19 million right now. Not not great.
It's all right, But what could you send back right? The New York Knicks have 22 picks between now and the 2027 draft, notably first round picks, double second round picks and a lot of these years, including 26 24.
You're going to get multiple first rounders in 2023 you'll also have multiple first rounders.
Three first rounders, as a matter of fact in the 2021 draft.
So now you can start to get into those pieces as well.
What else would you want? The A 26 year old? That's all fine and well.
But what other pieces on this on this roster would you want to send shy of a Nar J.
Barrett? Let's throw in a guy like knocks, who's been, you know, disappointing Young player, though, hasn't quite come around, but at least has some upside.
Some prospect there.
So now we're getting Julius Randle over there.
We're getting Kevin knocks over onto that roster as well.
You haven't necessarily done a ton of damage to the Knicks roster in terms of who you may project to be starters.
Neil Akina is young.
You could look to throw him into the mix there as well, because he fits the mold of the guard.
Let's put him on the docket, too, And let's not worry about so much about those those those assets we know they have plenty, so it means that it's feasible.
This this is a This is a really a really scenario that maybe entices the Knicks.
Now you want to say that they're finally doing the right way, getting younger, building it out.
But if you take a nil.
Akina, who's off there? And now, you know, Is Peyton gonna be the starter there? Is he the more enticing option to throw into a trade mix? Possibly with Houston Short So you can say one or the other, depending on who you think is more valuable.
You do have Austin Rivers who had some time in Houston.
He has familiarity there, certainly with James Harden.
So now you're talking about ticking off a guy You're not taking off any starters here.
You're going to throw in.
The Julius Randle is listed as the starter.
I guess that is, that is possible.
But I don't think it's necessarily something that you need to be worried about.
You thin yourself out around that forward position if you're gonna include Ah, Kevin knocks.
But you brought in Noel.
You have Mitchell Robinson, you have will be topping for whatever his limitations are on the offensive.
And you go ahead and say, Okay, this is how we're gonna mold ourselves.
And the offensive heavy lifting is gonna be done by James Harden alongside of R. J.
Barrett helping him to get better.
And then, if you If you talk about a knocks, if you're talking about a knocks in a Julius Randle specifically on the on the back side of this for Houston and and, by the way, throwing the Neil Akina.
That's an insurance policy and future plans.
Only one year left for him, though, and this is probably the biggest holdup would be one year for Neil Kina.
Two years for Knox.
Two years for Randall Randall being the one you're kind of happy to move on from, but not a lot of control.
But that being the case back over on one last toe, one last time, back over there on the Houston side of things you would be talking about bringing in a nil.
Akina He can sit there behind, obviously, John Wall.
You talk about right now, you know the guard pieces.
So you're gonna label as a point guard you're gonna play him in a shooting guard.
There's flexibility there, so that Memphis peace alongside of Ah, John Moran is a possibility, certainly.
But let's just think about Millikin is there at the point guard position, and then you're gonna have knocks and you're also going to have Randall so it gives you flexibility around and and certainly, uh, insurance policies around behind.
What if you wanna be able to flex him into the center position now, Julius Randle can play at the floor there.
It gives you flexibility.
Tucker, 35 years old.
Maybe you just wanna flat out.
Move on from that contract at some point, and then you have nil, Akina and you also have knocks.
And the nice piece again about Knox is that you can also have flexibility.
67 the Julius Randle bit.
You know, it's 68 Calling him a center is a little bit of a mixed bag, but you don't give yourself size, and you could even talk about how you want to utilize them through the four or five maybe too many bodies there in that regard.
But the assets were gonna factor into this is well, you get a boatload, you can give yourself some talent.
Not necessarily big needle movers, but something back in return.
And just from that plus minus and what this looks like when we run that trade you're talking about, Ah, big dip there for the rockets, obviously, in a big jump for the Knicks.
But maybe that's enough, combined with the assets so young talent that you get to flesh out over the next year or two and then also build yourself up in that draft class.
Don't know if the Knicks are interested or not interested in that.
But you certainly talk about a guy you have for two years, plus the team option.
What else can you put around them? And how would that move the projections for the New York Knicks? Maybe the enticement of coming to a major market like uh like the New York Knicks and saying We're not there yet.
But if you come here, then we start to get these things to move for us.
Then maybe you're the first piece.
The worst part about this again, all ties back to James Harden.
If you're not gonna clean up the attitude right, if you're not gonna represent yourself.
But it is a guy that's all in committed to whatever process on whatever team that you're playing for, it's gonna make it more difficult to entice other players to come and play with you.
So that's maybe the biggest.
That's the hardest part here, you know, is taking the risk on a James Harden now, because of how it sets you up for next free agency, where you still have a boatload of money as well toe work with Excuse me as I take a big swing at the at the at the at the desktop there, Um, where you're gonna be next year.
You're still gonna have a lot of money.
Especially if you could move that Randall piece on.
Maybe you keep Randall on this roster in the short term to help in over the course of this first season of James Harden on the roster.
But does that help you next offseason? If James Harden is an attractive player to play with, then yes.
If it's a deterrent, then it's just a bad eyes.
Any move you maybe we're gonna make in New York, including the Russell Westbrook piece where yes, in the short term, it improves you.
But in the long term, it doesn't help you.
That's kind of the murky world that you're going to be living in.
So at the end of the day, other contenders on the list there certainly could do what they need to to get Harden in the door like a Miami That makes all the sense in the world because they have the young player entirely Tyler hero whose stock is incredibly high right now.
Boston has some opportunities there if they want to, including assets.
But that combination is delicate as well as balancing the books.
So I hope this represents a very deep dive.
We threw out some possible and interesting options of Houston wants to cast hardened, potentially off onto an island where he just fades away over some of the last couple prime years of his career.
You can look at a Charlotte Hornets in that regard, but that could be a team that's desperate enoughto want to make that big push.
So there's a couple of fringe teams I think to keep on eye on here, and that's really gonna come down. Teoh.
This is the other balancing act as we get out the door.
If James Harden wants to be gone now, then I think it has to be.
If you want to get out the door, it's gonna have to be wherever we can make the pieces fit, whatever is gonna work, right? So that means opening it up to some lower level teams.
If you want to go to is a contender, then you got to get your butt in here.
You've got to show that you're committed.
You got to showcase your talent.
Even though everyone knows how good you are.
You got to play the good soldier, roll up to the trade deadline and we'll see how that market fleshes out.
And in that interim, if you're Houston and you think you'd be comfortable keeping him, you hope that that sample size with the roster you're assembling around him starts to excite him starts to intrigue you.
Maybe win, maybe win more games than you're anticipating early in the season.
And give yourself a look.
Maybe John Wallace healthy, and that backcourt tandem looks pretty strong.
Christian, would DeMarcus cousins etcetera, right.
If these things start to look at least enticing enough, you know that you still have some assets, can upcoming drafts, and you can take a look at that.
You can think maybe there's an opportunity here, as opposed to going to Ah Charlotte Hornets or going to a Knicks or some of these lower level teams and knowing that the rebuild process is still going to need to take place there as well that that those are the two options that are on the table right now.
I personally I personally wouldn't hate it if he found himself on a lower level.
Quote unquote, especially Eastern Conference team.
Just because gonna stirs up some excitement there and throw another team into a top six top five kind of seed scenario and shake things up a little bit in the Eastern Conference.
But if Harden wants to hold out, get on the court, play your game, keep your mouth shut, you know is it goes.
And it's not about me being that's not a shut up and dribble take.
That's just for your own interests.
Allow the offers to come in.
Allow some contending teams to get desperate, allows some contending teams to suffer an injury where they all of a sudden get a little bit more desperate because maybe a window is closing.
And then if that opportunity comes knocking, you get to go ahead and get excited about potentially being able to play for a championship.
If not this year heading into next season, certainly as well that'll do it for us here on SportsCastr News N B A.
You can come right back in.
I'll be back in on Monday with Keith McPherson, and that's gonna have some preseason games we have taken place by then.
So we'll actually have some official basketball action to look over.
And then that's the precursor to the start of the season ahead the following week, which will be the 22nd.
Obviously, So we'll start to hear some other rumblings around how rosters shaking out what we've seen from some training camps around the league as well.
So be sure to take a look at that.
Follow everybody else here, doing the thing on the SportsCastr News N B A and then also NFL side of it.
That's where you can find me.
I will be in Thursday night doing the preview show, along with Ray Rotten Laurence Owen for NFL content back tomorrow morning with Lawrence owned breaking down that game and just doing doing the darn thing all across the spectrum.
So with that, Adam are break here, the faithful MBA viewers there, Thanks for checking in with us and we will catch up with you soon