The James Harden era of the Houston Rockets is over.
After nine seasons in a Rocket uniform, the bearded perennial NBA All-Star and former league MVP guard was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster four-team deal, ESPN reports.
Harden goes to the Nets while Houston receives three unprotected first-round draft picks for 2022, 2024 and 2026, along with pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027, according to league sources.
The Rockets also get a former two-time All-Star in the deal, trading for Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo. Houston sent the Pacers guard Caris LeVert – who is in the deal with Brooklyn – and a second-round pick.
Center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince are headed from the Nets to the Cavs in the deal, ESPN reports according to league sources, while the Rockets receive Cleveland guard Dante Exum and Brooklyn forward Rodions Kurucs.
The Rockets also get Cleveland’s 2022 first-round pick, via the Milwaukee Bucks, and a future second-round pick from the Pacers. Brooklyn also gets a 2022 second-round pick from the Cavaliers.
Houston honored Harden’s wish to be reunited with former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. And along with All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, the move makes the Nets an instant championship contender.
The trade came down hours after the Rockets told Harden not to come to practice on Wednesday morning, after making inflammatory comments after Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We’re just not good enough ... I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can,” Harden said after the game. “I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
Rockets head coach Stephen Silas called the drama surrounding Harden an “all-around messed up situation.” He was then asked what he thought about Harden saying the Rockets are “just not good enough.”
“That’s hard to hear, especially when you don’t believe it and you know it not to be true,” said Silas, who noted he didn’t sleep at all on Tuesday night.
The Rockets are just 3-6 so far this season and only Minnesota has a worse record in the Western Conference.
In eight games this season, Harden is averaging 24.8 points per game, which is a little over than his career average of 25.2 points per game. But he averaged 34.3 points per game last season.
Oladipo averaged 20.0 points and 4.2 assists this season for Indiana as he tries to bounce back from an injury-riddled season in 2019-20, his eighth in the league. But he has been frustrated with the direction with the Pacers while he plays on the final year of his four-year, $84 million rookie extension.
The Rockets will face San Antonio on Thursday night, but the team may be shorthanded in that game if the NBA doesn’t approve the trade quickly.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.