The Los Angeles Lakers showed how dominant they can be after dismantling a spiritless Houston Rockets team in back-to-back road games this week.
The Rockets have been mired in drama as James Harden made it known before the 2020-21 season that he wanted out, and he finally got his wish as he was traded in a blockbuster deal to the Brooklyn Nets.
The move sent waves throughout the league as the Nets now have an explosive offensive trio in Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Brooklyn mortgaged their future in exchange for Harden as they sent out four unprotected first round picks and pick swaps to Houston, while Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen were shipped off to the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively.
It was reported that the Philadelphia 76ers were in the running for the superstar, but ultimately the Nets moved ahead on a trade that seemed inevitable after the Rockets’ recent loss to the Lakers and Harden’s postgame comments.
LeBron James was asked about his reaction to the trade but admitted he did not think too much of it. “Don’t really have too much of a reaction,” James said after leading the Lakers to an undefeated road trip.
“Obviously trades and things happen every year. For me, my main focus is on what we do here and how we continue to get better. That was the case today. Trades happened and I couldn’t allow myself to kind of indulge in that, knowing that we had a team we had to play. My main focus was on the Thunder.”
Heading into the regular season, Brooklyn was considered a championship favorite and this move all but solidifies that notion. Harden, Durant and Irving is the most star-studded trio in the league and scoring the basketball should not be a problem with those three on the floor.
However, James and the Lakers have never consumed themselves with other teams, instead focusing on getting better together. The results have been encouraging so far as they currently own the best record in the NBA and look poised to continue that trajectory.
Although Brooklyn might have an edge in star power, Los Angeles should still be considered the clear title favorite.
Frank Vogel offers reaction to Harden trade
Prior to their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel seemed intrigued with how the Harden trade will pan out. “They’re obviously loaded with star power now,” Vogel said. “We’ll see how they can gel to work together on the court.
“Obviously the Nets added a great player, the Rockets added a great player in Victor Oladipo and they got a nice package of picks. We’ll see how that trade plays out over time.”
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