In 2020-21, the Houston Rockets will be very different from previous seasons. The dominant story of this off-season in Texas is indeed that of the commercial rumors about the former MVP and eight-time All-Star James Harden. He recently made the Blazers a coveted landing spot.
Harden is unlikely to be back on the field in the near future as the NBA fined him $50,000 after a video of him turned up at a strip club earlier this week.
Harden and Houston are currently awaiting a statement from NBA medical staff to determine the duration of the quarantine before he may join the team.
Harden has made his business intentions clear and, as first reported by The Athletic, the Boston Celtics and Portland are teams he would like to trade with.
While it seems unlikely that the Celtics will give up their young assets and destroy their growing nucleus of Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown, a move to Portland to play alongside five times All-Star Damian Lillard gives the Blazers one of the best offensive backs in the NBA.
Right now, the Blazers are stuck in a competitive Western conference. They proved this summer that they are good enough to qualify for the play-offs, but not good enough to compete with the Western elite of the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.
The addition of a former MVP could push the Blazers to the top 4 in the West, because they have enough talent to be the last dark horse.
The Blazers would have to give up a lot to sign Beard, as Houston has made it clear that they need more than just a few design instructions and players for Harden, as ESPN’s Tim MacMahon described.
The Rockets call for a particularly cool comeback for Harden, an eternal MVP candidate who has led the NBA in scoring goals for the past three seasons: a young star confirmed as the center point and a huge bundle of choice, according to sources.
Lillard will have to bring in his old accomplice, C.J. McCollum, and her $23.9 million salary to make this deal work.
The 29-year-old shooter has never been on the All-Star team, but his career three-point shooting percentage is 39.7%, which could make him a veteran for the eventual reconstruction.
In addition to McCollum and perhaps a few protected first-round picks in 2022 and 2024, the Blazers have other young players who need to be included to make the trade work in terms of money when they use ESPN’s Trade Machine to adjust wages.
Zach Collins is an attractive pitcher because the 23-year-old post-player can be a powerful rabbit at both ends of the pitch and can stretch the ground with a three-point shot that becomes more and more reliable every year.
Although Nasir Little didn’t quite live up to his success in high school, the man is only 20 years old, has shown his potential as a 3D Wing and was able to take advantage of a change of scenery to succeed in the NBA.
The same goes for Anfernee Simons. The 21-year-old playmaker has shown his potential as a goalkeeper, but has had more opportunities to develop his NBA skills in a team like Houston.
In summary, the best commercial package the Blazers could offer would include McCollum, Collins, Little, Simons and two future spikes.
With Ben Simmons in Philadelphia, it’s one of the best the Rockets can do for their unfortunate superstar, picking up the Blazers as Houston embarks on a full rebuilding effort.