NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Bucks' Interest in James Harden, Nets Trade Options

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2020

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

James Harden has a list of preferred destinations if the Houston Rockets can engineer a trade, but one of those franchises is not reciprocating that interest.

After a busy offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks are seemingly content to build around a core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. Harden, per Sam Amick of The Athletic, "isn't seen as a culture fit" in Milwaukee.

Whether that's correct is a subjective opinion, but several factors are undoubtedly a part of this conversation.

Harden's production and talent speak for themselves. He's averaged 29.7 points and 7.7 assists over a nine-season span in Houston and enters the 2020-21 campaign with three straight scoring titles. All 30 NBA franchises are interested in that.

The concerns, though, are Harden's ball-dominant playing style, lackluster defense and possible personality clashes.

Some teams are willing to accept those obstacles, and others may insist his playing style, defense or personality aren't actually a problem anyway. Those determinations can vary, and they're not the only possible topics to consider.

But for whatever reasonAmick's report did not specify oneMilwaukee believes Harden wouldn't fit the roster.

Another team on Harden's list, the Brooklyn Nets, is now dealing with a different trade discussion.

While the previous rumors connecting Harden and Brooklyn led to no serious conversations, that didn't stop the research of hypothetical trade options. But short of including Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, it basically always resulted in a deal involving at least Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert.

Dinwiddie, however, is now seriously injured.

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

In a recent game against the Charlotte Hornets, he exited with a partially torn ACL in his right knee. Dinwiddie will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the 2020-21 season.

Dinwiddie leaves a major void on the roster, given he averaged 20.6 points last season. That kind of scoring punch is especially valuable for a team expected to manage minutes for both Durant and Irving. Chris Chiozza has stepped into Dinwiddie's role, but Brooklyn may want to bolster the roster.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype noted an Eastern Conference executive thinks the Nets will target a like-for-like replacement.

"I think Brooklyn will look to trade for another point guard," the anonymous executive told Scotto. "They could look to move Spencer with a pick to get a player."

Dinwiddie has an $11.5 million salary in 2020-21 and $12.3 million player option for 2021-22, per HoopsHype. Perhaps he's more likely to exercise that option because of the injury, but the possibility of Dinwiddie opting out will be a factor in determining his value for any potential suitor.

Brooklyn will probably wait to see how Chiozza performs and determine if a Dinwiddie trade is even necessary closer to the March 25 deadline.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR


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