The Just how much are the Nets willing to give up in a trade for James Harden? It’s a million dollar question — and it’s one this franchise got terribly wrong in the past. KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia >> Leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, including U.S. President Donald Trump, pledged today to work toward free, open and non-discriminatory trade and investment to revive their coronavirus-battered economies.
Trading for James Harden could cost the Nets everything — again
Just how much are the Nets willing to give up in a trade for James Harden? It’s a million dollar question — and it’s one this franchise got terribly wrong in the past.
The Nets mortgaged their future shortly after moving to Brooklyn: They dealt five players, none of whom went on to make an impact elsewhere, but also surrendered three future first-round draft picks and an addition pick swap to the Boston Celtics for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry in 2013.
Those new-look Nets went on to win just one playoff series before tearing it down. Pierce left for the Wizards the following summer, and Brooklyn traded Garnett to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young.
Giving up those draft picks cost the Nets dearly: Three years at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings while the Celtics reaped the benefits of the Nets’ consecutive poor seasons. Boston drafted Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum then leveraged another pick to trade for Kyrie Irving using Brooklyn’s draft assets.
Over the years, the Nets have slowly built themselves back into playoff shape. Now, they find themselves in familiar territory.
Could James Harden team up with Kyrie Irving and the Nets next season? (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
A trade for Harden is going to cost more than the kitchen sink. It’ll take the foundation of the entire building to pry a superstar of his magnitude from the Houston Rockets.
Harden is interested in joining Kevin Durant and Irving to form a super team in Brooklyn, one that could potentially dominate the NBA by lumping together three surefire Hall of Famers, top-15-or-so players, and all-time scorers onto the same team. However, despite a desire between players to join one another, the willingness to execute a deal hasn’t been there between the Rockets and Nets’ front offices.
From the Rockets’ side, it’s understandable. Harden is an MVP, possibly the greatest individual scorer of all-time and a player whose trade could shift the league’s balance of power drastically in any direction he moves. Reports out of Houston indicate they are in no rush to trade him, or his co-star Russell Westbrook, and that the organization is willing to “get uncomfortable” taking the duo into training camp and the regular season until the right offer presents itself.
Nets GM Sean Marks is willing to make an offer — but he won’t repeat past mistakes.
“If you put it like ‘mortgage the future,’ I would probably say no,” Marks said in a Zoom conference call with reporters late Friday morning, ahead of the 6 p.m. kickoff to NBA free agency. “There becomes a fine line where it becomes: ‘This is what we’re willing to do,’ not only in a trade for a star player but every trade for that matter.”
For Marks, sustainability is key. He doesn’t want to build something that’s around for one or two years, then have to build from scratch all over again. That reeks of deja vu, and a repeat from 2013 would be an utter disaster in 2020.
At least that’s what he wants the world to know, and by the world, I mean the Houston Rockets. Make no mistake, this is a game of chess between Brooklyn and Houston. Reports indicate that the two sides have at least had a conversation about a deal. The Rockets would be remiss not to drain the Nets of every asset they have for acquiring a generational talent, and the Nets, who have already done that once, would be foolish to do so again.
A Durant-Harden-Irving trio is not a direct comparison, however, to the Pierce, Garnett, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson team of the early 2010s. Garnett was 37, Pierce and Terry were 36, Johnson was 32 and Williams was a shell of himself at 29. Each of their core players — save for Johnson in crunch time — were closer to retirement than to their prime years.
Durant, Harden and Irving are each in the middle of their primes, none older than 32. If it’s championship or bust with the roster as-is, anything short of a dynastic run with this super team is as big of a failure as one playoff appearance after dealing with the Celtics.
Harden is two seasons removed from winning MVP in 2018 and had it not been for Giannis Antetokounmpo, The Beard likely would have grabbed one more. Durant is coming off a ruptured Achilles that sidelined him the entirety of last season, but when healthy, he is one of the three best players on the planet, and it’s hard to put him at No. 3. Irving is a gifted scorer who raises his game in clutch moments, having hit the shot that delivered Cleveland its first NBA championship.
The Nets wouldn’t just be paying for Harden. They would be paying for what adding Harden would create in Brooklyn: imbalance. The Nets are trying to shift the scales.
They could arguably do so without a trade. Brooklyn officially announced the finalization of trades for sharpshooter Landry Shamet from the Clippers and two-way wing Bruce Brown from the Pistons, as the Daily News reported on draft night. They still have Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince, though it is believed at least one of those players would be moved, and potentially all of them if a trade for Harden comes together.
As it stands, the Nets may have the deepest roster in all of basketball, and that doesn’t include Joe Harris, who Marks doubled down on as a priority this offseason, first in an ESPN interview in the Orlando bubble, then again on Friday’s Zoom call with reporters.
Author: Kristian Winfield
APEC leaders, including Trump, agree on free trade
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia >> Leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, including U.S. President Donald Trump, pledged today to work toward free, open and non-discriminatory trade and investment to revive their coronavirus-battered economies.
The leaders cast aside differences to issue their first joint statement since 2017, in which they agreed to further deepen regional integration by working toward a massive free trade agreement involving the 21 APEC economies.
This year’s host, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, told a news conference that the U.S.-China trade war that had hampered talks in the past has “been eclipsed” by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With growth in the Asia-Pacific region expected to slump 2.7% this year, from a 3.6% growth in 2019, he said APEC’s focus was on accelerating economic recovery and developing an affordable vaccine.
“The health risks and its impact on the global economic ecosystem has been the major priority agenda for all APEC economies this year,” he said.
APEC, whose members account for 60% of global GDP, has also “pledged to refrain from backtracking and resorting to protectionist measures to keep markets and borders open,” he added.
The APEC leaders’ meeting was the first since 2018 after last year’s host, Chile, canceled the annual summit due to violent domestic protests. But at the Papua New Guinea summit in 2018, APEC leaders failed to issue a joint statement for the first time amid a U.S.-China row over trade policies.
Trump’s participation today, his first since 2017, came as a surprise as he challenges the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, won by Joe Biden.
Last weekend, Trump skipped the East Asia Summits and withdrew from speaking at an APEC CEO meeting earlier today.
Trump, whose “America First” policy has alienated trading partners, addressed the meeting but his speech wasn’t immediately available.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his remarks, urged countries to “defend multilateralism” and called for the establishment of an “Asia-Pacific free trade zone at an early date.”
He told the meeting that Beijing would also “actively consider” joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that includes Japan, Canada, Mexico and other regional economies but not the United States.
Trump pulled out of the CPTPP’s predecessor, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which never took effect.
Xi’s comments came just after Beijing and 14 Asian nations inked the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest free trade agreement.
If China were to join the CPTPP, that would make Xi’s government a member of the Asia-Pacific region’s two biggest trade arrangements, while Washington is part of neither.
APEC leaders adopted the Putrajaya Vision 2040, a new 20-year growth vision to replace the Bogor Goals named after the Indonesian town where leaders agreed in 1994 to free and open trade and investment.
They pledged to build an “open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful region” by 2040, and tasked officers to draw up implementation plans by next year.
“We recognize the importance of a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment to drive economic recovery at such a challenging time,” according to the joint statement.
“We resolve to further navigate the region towards recovery along the path of strong, balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth,” the statement added.
Earlier today, the leaders of Japan and New Zealand warned countries against the temptation of retreating into trade protectionism.
Speaking by video link from Tokyo to the meeting of APEC CEOs, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said “making rules for a free and fair global economy is critically important.”
While continuing to promote WTO reform, he said Japan will “aspire for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who will be next year’s APEC host, voiced hope that APEC leaders will join hands to bolster the regional economy.
“As we confront this generation’s biggest economic challenge, we must not repeat the mistakes of history by retreating into protectionism. APEC must continue to commit to keeping markets open and trade flowing,” she said.
APEC brings together Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.
New Zealand will also host next year’s APEC meetings virtually due to the pandemic.
AP journalist Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.
Author: By Eileen Ng / Associated Press