The James Harden-Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving trio was once a fantasy that kept basketball fans alive during the offseason after rumors circulated that Beard was leaving the Houston Rockets.
Rumors have died down a bit, especially after the Rockets made a few key moves in hopes of keeping Harden in the game. But after Wednesday’s defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers, Harden canceled his trade offer, putting his team under fire.
With that, the Rockets pulled the lever and made the Harden-Duran-Irving trio a reality. It contains all the elements that can be found in a championship team – at least at first glance. But, as we’ve seen in recent years, not all Big 3s work. Just hours after the trade was made public, analysts were quick to criticize the network’s lack of defensive presence. Questions also arise: Can the HDI trio really work?
Despite rumors of a deal, Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert were to arrive on the scene. Analysts expect LeVert to thrive as an All-Star in Indiana. As for Allen, now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he could be the inside defender the Nets need.
Yes, there is also DeAndre Jordan, who has been on the NBA All-Tournament team twice in his career, but that man seems to be at the end of his rope. Fans of the net have only seen glimpses of young Jordan, who once effortlessly grabbed lobs and blocked every shot thrown at him. Steve Nash’s preference for outfielder Allen was very revealing. The 22-year-old Allen has more potential than the 32-year-old Jordan.
While a hole in the defense will allow them to get past some teams just because their offense is very good, how will they play against the reigning champions Los Angeles Lakers? Durant could defend Anthony Davis or Mark Gasol, but who will defend LeBron James?
Who gets the ball when James Harden is in the crease?
Every NBA fan knows that Durant, Harden and Irving are the top three scorers in history. They put the ball in the basket, that’s what they do. Yes, Harden flexed his ass in Houston. Beard certainly has vision and passing ability in his arsenal, but that’s only possible in his day – even with the Oklahoma City Thunder – when he has the ball in his hands.
Net fans can bet that both Durant and Irving have experience playing with other stars. Durant won two titles with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green by his side. But note that Curry and Thompson are the deadliest shooters in history. KD had the luxury of having the ball in his hands, while Curry and Thompson remained threats and just moved around on the floor.
As for Irving, he had LeBron James and Kevin Love on his side. It’s a trio that came back from a 1-3 deficit against a team with 73 wins to win the title. Love willingly withdrew to welcome them. While LBJ needs the ball in his hands to do maximum damage, it is important to remember that he is also the most unselfish player. LeBron even told Tyrone Lue to put the ball in Irving’s hands in the dying minutes of the 2016 win.
But with Harden in the band, Durant and Irving probably won’t have that luxury. The only way to get the job done is to sacrifice Harden. This could mean his game is out of control, which, as we’ve already said, is not a good thing. Will Harden be willing to make sacrifices? And if so, is that enough for his first title?
How long will this trio last?
If Kyrie comes to his senses soon, Nets fans will have the pleasure of having their three superstars on the field. But the question is, how long will this trio last? After all, Harden is making $41.25 million this season and is under contract through the 2021-22 season.
In the 2022 offseason, Harden has a huge $47.4 million player option or he becomes a restricted free agent. This brings the network to an impasse. You let Harden go? Or are they stretching their books to allow the Hardens to age?
That leaves the Nets with just two chances to win the coveted NBA title. This win makes Harden-Durant-Irving one of the best trios in history. On the other hand, winning nothing means the deal has failed. And, as with the history of basketball, it will be a major blow to the legacy of the Three.