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Former Sun Devil James Harden dealt to the Nets in mega NBA trade

Beard on another team

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images

James Harden, who played at ASU from 2007-2009, is on the move in the NBA. Earlier today, Harden was the biggest name involved in a blockbuster trade that moved him from the Houston Rockets, where he has been since 2012, to the Brooklyn Nets.

Here’s a breakdown of all the moving parts in this blockbuster super-trade:

Many followers of the NBA are attracted to the league for moments like this. The league has surged in popularity over the last decade in large part because the prospect of fans watching their favorite players join forces to create super teams has become more attainable than ever.

Today, the next NBA super team was formed. Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP, has joined up with Kevin Durant, the 2014 NBA MVP, and Harden’s former teammate in Oklahoma City.

Those two players make up a three-headed monster that also involves Kyrie Irving, who is a generational talent when he is not spurning members of the media or partying without a mask on.

Harden is undoubtedly the most successful former Sun Devil to make it in the NBA. His jersey hangs proudly over the hardwood at Desert Financial Arena and could be seen everywhere in the stands when fans were allowed in the building.

However, while other former Sun Devil greats Eddie House and Byron Scott never ascended to the individual heights Harden has enjoyed in the NBA, they can call themselves NBA champions, and Harden cannot.

That seems to be the primary reason why Harden, who is now 31, seemed so anxious to get out of Houston. In Harden’s eyes, the way the current Rockets’ roster was constructed wouldn’t allow him to compete for a title until he was likely out of his prime.

He has had his chances, a crushing home loss in Game Seven of the 2018 Western Conference Finals was as close as Harden has come to the NBA Finals, but Houston has regressed in recent years, and Harden’s frustration continued to grow until it finally bubbled over last night.

Moments later, Harden’s now former teammates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins ripped Harden for his antics. Wall’s comments were particularly blunt.

It is so rare for situations like this to play out this publicly, but it underscores how toxic the locker room environment had become in Houston.

Don’t feel too bad for the Rockets, though. They now have all-star Victor Oladipo to pair with Wall, Cousins, and burgeoning star Christian Wood.

Now, one of the best pure scorers the NBA has ever seen gets a fresh start. Time will tell who will ultimately be the winner of this league-altering trade, but this move to Brooklyn represents Harden’s last, and probably best, shot to win a championship as one of the best players on his team.

And hopefully, for those of us who follow basketball and are excited to see Harden and Durant back together, a reprise of one of the greatest sports memes of all-time.