The Chicago Bulls have a talent deficit. James Harden could fix that.
The Chicago Bulls already might have a star on their roster. Maybe it’s Zach LaVine. But Monday night, Houston Rockets guard James Harden made it very clear that his time in H-town is ending, and the Bulls should capitalize.
So should every other team in the NBA.
This article isn’t about possible trade packages. This is about evaluating a schema that’s all too prevalent in the NBA. Even I think this way. This is airing demons, this is about reconciling the fact that to win in the NBA, a team needs talent.
There’s no greater available fount of talent than James Harden. So far in this shortened season, Harden is averaging 24.8 points a night, and above 10 assists.
And he’s not even playing particularly well.
James Harden is a scoring title owner (twice over), and a runner-up for an MVP trophy more times than he would care to admit. He’s disenfranchised with the Rockets, and he hasn’t been very nice about it. He disregarded the start of Rockets camp, and his request is starting to cause rifts within the team. He plays fast and loose with COVID-19 protocols.
Every team in the league should do everything to get him.
James Harden is, at the very least, a walking playoff berth. If the Bulls seriously wanted to make some noise in the Eastern Conference, the quick and dirty way to do it is to just trade for Harden.
If you put Harden on an established team, maybe give him another star, and that’s a championship contender.
Harden is that good. He could be the best player in the league on any given night. So why is there so much pushback on wanting Harden? Why hasn’t he been traded yet?
It could be that Harden plays an odd brand of basketball. He almost plays like a robot, going through “if, then” statements, calibrating the best line to the hoop for 16 out of the 24 seconds on the shot clock. But other times, he plays a beautiful game, and there’s no denying the stress he puts on a defense.
The other drawback is his attitude. He seems disgruntled. Is that only because he’s in a bad situation, though? Or is there more to him than meets the eye?
The real question is, do those negatives outweigh the positives? Are chemistry issues enough to deter a championship run?
I don’t think I can craft a definitive argument to not trade for James Harden. Any drawback that he brings is counter-measured by the scoring force of a collapsing star. Even on the Bulls, a team I love, filled with players that I’ve known forever, sending them to Houston for a chance at a serious playoff run would be too enticing to turn down.
Now, this isn’t a be all, end all. But it does promote a discussion — is trading for Harden, no matter the position the team is in, a good idea?