The James Harden Predicament: Should the Miami Heat Pursue Harden?

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With the NBA season starting for the Miami Heat on Wednesday, December 23, Houston Rockets shooting guard, James Harden, is still up for grabs. Miami has squashed any rumors surrounding a trade for the superstar according to ESPN. Should the Miami Heat pursue Harden, coming off their first finals appearance since the LeBron James era?

The Consensus Says…

This is a smart move for the Heat. With a successful offseason, the Heat were able to retain their core group of guys and add some impressive surrounding pieces in Avery Bradley, Maurice Harkless and Precious Achiuwa. In order to get Harden, the package would have to include Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and some veterans.

This would end up completely tearing apart the team that flourished so highly in the 2019-2020 season. One has to pose the question; is he worth it? Sure, Harden can explode for 50 points on any given night, but is it worth our young guys future careers? The answer is no to the question of should the Miami Heat pursue Harden.

There is also the lingering worry that Harden won’t get along with the team, as seen in his Rockets career. Harden went through many different stars in his eight seasons in Houston. You see the faces of Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Russell Westbrook and wonder how each player left, disgruntled with the organization, and with Harden.

Should the Miami Heat pursue Harden? Harden and Russell Westbrook at a press conference.
Houston’s guard Russell Westbrook (R) answers questions beside James Harden (L) during a press conference after the NBA Japan Games 2019 pre-season basketball match between Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors in Saitama, northern suburb of Tokyo on October 10, 2019. (Photo by TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP) (Photo by TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

For the sake of the argument, let’s say that the Heat work out a trade (Ran through ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine) sending Herro, Robinson, Nunn, Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala to Houston for Harden.

This would make the starting lineup look something like this:

PG: Goran Dragic

SG: James Harden

SF: Jimmy Butler

PF: Meyers Leonard

C: Bam Adebayo

With a VERY limited bench. The Heat lose their shooting tandem of Herro and Robinson, the promising presence of Nunn and the veteran experience of Iguodala and Olynyk.

Then, the question rises of if Harden and Butler would work well together. On one side of the token, you get the balance of offense and defense with the two. Harden is much better defensively than he’s given credit for, but obviously not known for his defense still. This gives Butler the opportunity to be the defensive anchor with Adebayo and take off some of the scoring load.

Like mentioned earlier, Harden’s been known for his “differences” with teammates. Butler has always wanted THE guy. This seems more like a “Miami isn’t big enough for the two of us” situation, and I’m perfectly happy keeping Butler as our superstar.

Possible Destinations

No matter which way you look at it, the asking price for the superstar shooting guard will be high. A team will likely have to gut out every young player and dish out a handful of future picks to secure Harden. Two teams who have been frontrunners throughout the drama have been the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers.

There has also been buzz surrounding Harden joining 2020 NBA MVP and DPOY, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Milwaukee Bucks. This isn’t Harden’s first choice in scenery, but still a possibility. Look to see Harden in a new uniform sooner rather than later.

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