In a series of deals that broke around midnight, the Milwaukee Bucks revised their starting list and in the process added Jrue Holiday, a potential “third star” that the Nets were interested in acquiring.
At the same time, the same reporters who disrupted this trade wrote that the Rockets had refused to engage in a “meaningful dialogue” with James Harden’s trading networks … despite his growing demands.
So what will the nets do until NBA Players Week moves to their second day?
Harden’s story, of course, has been going on for a week, but Bucks̵
Milwaukee did what it did to persuade Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign a supermax contract, which should happen by December 21st. The two-time MVP, still just 25, made it clear over the weekend that his decision would be based on what the Bucks did to pursue the title. Did you approve of the moves, did you insist on them? No one is saying, but if the Bucks front office has made deals, with all this lost youth, without assurance from Antetokounmpo, it’s an even bigger risk than Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov took in 2013.
On the other hand, the Bucks are now a better team and its front office and property believe they can fight for the title.
Would the nets match the price of Bucks for a holiday? Doubtful. Only the history of the Nets would have prevented this … and Holiday is an expiring contract. Apparently, Sean Marx has a rule that he does not trade for a player he could get as a free agent.
Of course, there are other implications for the networks other than Bucks’ resurgent team. If the holiday is worth the WAY first, what will it take to acquire Harden? The Rockets also asked the Blazers to give up the first two and Trevor Ariza for Robert Covington, also last night.
So, let’s assume for the moment that the Rockets will not yield to Harden’s demands – and as Adrian Voynarovsky and Shams Charania noted yesterday, they could not do anything in the short term while trying to mend their relationship with their superstar. Harden has no trade ban clause. Would it last? Doubtful.
(Restoring the connection may not be so easy. Rich Bucher announced overnight that the Rockets players are in a “riot” because of the close relationship between owner Tillman Fertita and President Trump.)
Will the networks stand up? They have already acquired the perimeter defender that many considered necessary, trading Zenan Musa and the second round of the Raptors in 2021 in Detroit for 24-year-old Bruce Brown Jr., who started 99 games in two years. They are still developing prospects with drafts, believing they will likely choose a young developing player like RJ Hampton, Jaden McDaniels or Cole Anthony.
They still have a wealth of good young players in Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Nicolas Claxton and Taurean Prince, who could be used either in the Harden deal, if that happens, or for experienced power ahead. There are also reports that Brooklyn – and Durant in particular – is trying to recruit Serge Ibaka, who would have to cut a huge salary to continue his second ring. Not to mention the possibility for “ring pursuers” to register for minimal transactions with veterinarians.
In other words, the Brooklyn networks remain in VERY good shape. They already have two superstars, their list is stable and is considered a contender for the title even without the addition of Harden. They have the flexibility to make edge movements if they want or test a big job.
Of course, this story could be detonated by a howl bomb at any moment. Enjoy the ride.