The oddsmakers and NBA bettors have spoken and they’re sold on the James Harden trade.
With the addition of Harden, the Nets are now a 3-1 proposition to win the NBA title, according to VegasInsider.com. Only the defending champion Lakers have lower odds at 5-2. In terms of the Eastern Conference, the Nets are a clear favorite over the other main contenders, the Bucks (7-1 to win it all), Sixers (14-1) and Celtics (18-1).
The trio of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving makes the Nets nearly impossible to guard, as long as they’re willing to make some sacrifices. The early returns on the Harden-Durant combo were promising, as they led the team to a two-point win over Milwaukee on Monday. They combined for 64 points, 18 assists and 15 rebounds.
Irving is expected to return to action on Wednesday after missing several games for personal reasons. No one quite knows what to expect from Irving at this point or his level of commitment. Just a few days ago, there was speculation he might even retire.
If Irving is focused on pursuing a championship, the Nets can overcome a number of other issues. They have no depth in the middle at the moment, with DeAndre Jordan being the only experienced hand on deck. Their defense could be suspect – Jordan is the only veteran who has been named to the league’s All-Defensive First or Second Team and his most recent appearance was five years ago.
There’s also the volatility factor – will three headstrong stars like Durant, Harden and Irving be able to mesh their skills and leave their egos at the door during crunch time in the playoffs? And what happens when they face some adversity – will there be finger pointing or cohesiveness?
If the Nets win at least one championship with this group, the Harden trade will be considered the final piece to the puzzle and worth all the assets Brooklyn surrendered in the deal. If they come up short, they’ll be paying the price for the next decade with all the draft picks and players they sacrificed to bring in the former Most Valuable Player.
That leads us to our topic of the day: Will the addition of James Harden result in a Nets championship? Or will the combination of Harden, Durant and Irving turn out to be a toxic mix?
Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.