James Harden trade: SportsLine odds see Nets, Cavaliers jump out as big winners from blockbuster deal


Everyone knew a James Harden trade was coming at some point, especially after his dramatic postgame press conference on Tuesday night, but no one could have predicted what actually ended up happening. The Houston Rockets sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in what turned into massive four-team deal involving the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers

Here’s a quick rundown of what each team got in the trade:

  • Rockets: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, three first-round picks from the Nets (2022, 2024, 2027), four pick swaps with the Nets (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027) and a first-round pick from the Bucks (2022) by way of the Cavaliers
  • Nets: James Harden
  • Pacers: Caris LeVert, 2023 second-round pick from Rockets
  • Cavaliers: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

There are obviously all sorts of ways to break down the deal, but one interesting one is looking at what the numbers say. SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh ran the simulations for the remainder of the season, and found, unsurprisingly, that the Nets’ championship odds increased tremendously. 

Here’s a look at the projections for all four teams involved, both before and after the trade. 

Nets

Before trade

41.6

95.5%

18.6%

8.6%

After trade

42.9

97.2%

28.6%

15.4%

Impact

+1.3

+1.7%

+10%

+6.8%

Considering they got an MVP caliber player, and one of the best scorers of all time, it’s little surprise that the Nets’ championship odds jumped. After all, talent wins titles, and the Nets now have arguably the most talented trio in the league. It’s interesting, though, that the deal doesn’t really affect their regular season win total. 

Rockets

Before trade

33

18.5%

0.7%

0.3%

After trade

29.7

4.8%

0.1%

0.0%

Impact

-3.3

-13.7%

-0.6%

-0.3%

The Rockets’ results here aren’t really surprising. This could end up being a great trade for them, but we won’t know about the impact of all the draft assets they got for a long time. In terms of this season, the only aspect that really matters is acquiring Oladipo. He’s a nice player, but he’s not Harden, and this team wasn’t a lock to make the playoffs even before the trade. 

Pacers

Before trade

40

90%

4.9%

1.4%

After trade

40.2

88.1%

5.4%

1.9%

Impact

+0.2

-1.9%

+0.5%

+0.5%

The Pacers getting involved in this deal really came out of nowhere, but it made a lot of sense for them. Oladipo has bounced back and looks much more like his pre-injury self, but didn’t seem to have a long-term future in Indiana, so they swapped him for LeVert. That’s as close to a like-for-like as you’re going to get in a trade, and as a result the only fluctuation in their numbers was margin of error stuff. 

Cavaliers

Before trade

31.8

22.1%

0.4%

0.1%

After trade

36.4

58.6%

1.5%

0.4%

Impact

+4.6

+36.5%

+1.1%

+0.3%

The Cavaliers were another surprise entrant into this saga, and they really came away well. They gave up Exum and a first-round pick to snag Jarrett Allen from the Nets. Allen is an elite shot blocker and fits the timeline of this Cavs team perfectly. The simulations also apparently love this deal, as the Cavs saw their playoff odds rise by 36.5 percent. 





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