Harden Trade Is More Mutually Beneficial Than It Looks

    • Thursday's blockbuster shook up the East and appears one-sided.
    • But Harden will become first $60M player, Brooklyn saves $15 million, and Philadelphia forms a new star duo.

Thursday’s blockbuster trade looks to have tipped the balance of the Eastern Conference — in favor of the Brooklyn Nets — but the deal isn’t as one-sided as it may look. 

On Thursday, the Nets traded James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks.

The Nets wanted a big haul for Harden, and they got it. Meanwhile, Harden got his wish and set himself up for a big payday in the process.

  • As part of the deal, Harden opted into his $47.3 million player option. 
  • After the 2022-23 season Harden will become the first NBA player to make $60M in one season.
  • Harden was already interested in signing with Philadelphia this summer but would’ve lost roughly $70-100 million if he simply walked in free agency.
  • The Nets recoup two of the four first-rounders in their original 2020 deal for Harden.

If it seems like Philly gave up too much, the outlook isn’t so bad. The Sixers are just 2.5 games back from first — and more importantly, they’ve managed to offload Simmons, who hasn’t played a single game this season after a fallout with the organization. 

And now, Joel Embiid has a certified superstar helping him out — even though the former MVP is having the second-worst shooting year of his career (41.4%) while leading the league in turnovers per game (4.8).

The Nets now have two of the five best three-point shooters all-time (Curry, Joe Harris) — and actually saved money in the deal, cutting their luxury-tax payment by roughly $15 million.