After months of rumors and awkward press conferences, it finally happened. On Wednesday, James Harden got what he wanted and was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets, where he’ll form arguably the most dominant big three in the NBA with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
However, while the details of the trade were being reported in the afternoon, the Los Angeles Lakers were preparing for their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and apparently that’s all LeBron James had time for. Following the Lakers’ 128-99 win over the Thunder on Wednesday, James didn’t have much of a reaction to the Harden trade, and he attributed it to the fact that he was focused on his upcoming game.
“Obviously trades and things happen every year and for me, my main focus is on what we do here and how we can continue to get better and that was the case today,” James said. “The trade happened today, but I couldn’t allow myself to indulge in that knowing that we had a team that we had to play tonight, so my main focus was the Thunder.”
Anthony Davis gave a less political answer during his postgame media availability, but even he didn’t say anything to give the Lakers-Nets hype train any fuel.
“He got to one of his destinations,” Davis said of Harden. “He wanted to play there. We’ll see how it goes. I mean, you know, KD and James played together in OKC, and then you add another guy in Kyrie. They lost some key players — Jarret Allen and Caris LeVert — but they look good on paper. We’ll see how it goes when those guys are get in between the lines and get a chance to play alongside each other.”
There’s no denying that the Nets’ trio is scary. Combined, Durant and Harden make up for the last seven of the last 10 scoring championships. Meanwhile, both Durant and Irving are NBA champions.
However, as we saw last season, it takes a lot more than just raw talent to make the NBA Finals, let alone win them. The Nets have a lot to figure out both on and off the court before they can put themselves in the same conversation as the defending champion Lakers. Maybe a Nets-Lakers conversation will be worth having in April, but for now, it’s just hype.