Harden kept out of practice after he disparages Rockets

Houston Rockets guard James Harden leaves the court following a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday in Houston. The Brooklyn Nets agreed to acquire the disgruntled Rockets star Wednesday, an anonymous source told The Associated Press.

HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden is heading to Brooklyn, joining old teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to give the Nets a potent trio of some of the NBA’s highest scorers.

The Nets agreed to acquire the three-time scoring champion from the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in a move he has sought for weeks, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

Harden is the centerpiece of a four-team deal that also involves Indiana and Cleveland, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade call with the NBA — which signs off on all deals — has not been completed. Once the deal is completed, the Nets will be able to trot out a lineup of three players capable of scoring 25 or more points on any night in a collection of firepower to rival any Big Three in recent years.

It provides a needed boost amid a period of drama for both franchises, struck less than 24 hours after Harden seemed to deliver a farewell address of sorts following the Rockets’ second straight loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, and just before Irving was set to miss a fifth straight game during a personal absence from the Nets.

At least four draft picks and additional pick swaps are also part of the deal, the person said. Other key players: Victor Oladipo goes from Indiana to Houston, and Caris LeVert goes from Brooklyn to Indiana, the person said, adding that Cleveland was also part of the massive trade. The Cavaliers will get Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets in the deal, a person familiar with the trade told the AP.

Harden, who has cycled through Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook as teammates in recent seasons, didn’t think much of the roster the Rockets had around him this season.

“We’re just not good enough ... I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can,” Harden said Tuesday night. “I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”

It couldn’t, and now he’s gone.

Brooklyn expects Harden to leave all that behind him and hopes that his transition to the Nets is smooth. He should be much happier in Brooklyn, having teamed with Durant in Oklahoma City when they were younger and remaining close with him still.

It was obvious the end was nearing Wednesday, when the Rockets told him they didn’t want him at practice after his inflammatory comments about the team.

“We felt it was best for James and best for the group for him not to come to practice,” first-year coach Stephen Silas said. About two hours later, ESPN and The Athletic first reported that Harden was being moved.

The disgruntled superstar had remained quiet through months of reports that he was unhappy in Houston. Silas called the drama surrounding Harden an “all-around messed up situation.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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