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Disgruntled Harden traded in blockbuster move

Just hours after the Rockets told him they didn't want him at practice after his inflammatory comments about the team, disgruntled Houston star James Harden has been traded.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets will move Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a three-way deal with Cleveland.

Brooklyn's Caris LeVert, Cleveland's Dante Exum and Brooklyn's Rodions Kurucs, will head to Houston with the Rockets attaining four 1st round picks – including the Cavaliers' 2022 first round selection via Milwaukee — and 4 Nets pick swaps to Rockets. Brooklyn's Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince will head to the Cavaliers.

The trade also features new piece LeVert to the Pacers for Victor Oladipo.

Houston receives Brooklyn's three unprotected first-round draft picks — 2022, 2024 and 2026 — in the deal, plus pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027, according to sources.

The massive deal shakes up the entire power balance of the NBA or the Eastern Conference at the very least with Harden reuniting with former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant and joining forces with All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. The move almost certainly sees the Nets elevate to title contenders.

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The move comes after the unhappy superstar remained quiet through months of speculation that he is unhappy in Houston.

Harden finally voiced his frustration on Wednesday AEDT after the second straight blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets reacts during the fourth quarter

"We're just not good enough … I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can," Harden said after the game. "I mean, this situation is crazy. It's something that I don't think can be fixed."

Houston coach Stephen Silas called the drama surrounding Harden an "all-around messed up situation." He was then asked what he thought about Harden saying the Rockets are "just not good enough."

"That's hard to hear, especially when you don't believe it and you know it not to be true," said Silas, who noted he didn't sleep at all on Tuesday night.

The first year coach said he spoke to Harden on Wednesday but declined to provide details.

The Rockets begin a three-game road trip on Thursday night with the first of two straight games against San Antonio.

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Th Rockets are just 3-6 so far this season and only Minnesota has a worse record in the Western Conference. The team was clearly in disarray and new arrival John Wall called the situation "rocky."

Harden won each of the last three scoring titles by notable margins — 2.3 points over Anthony Davis in 2017-18, 8.1 points over Paul George in 2018-19 and 3.8 points over Bradley Beal last season. His 24.8-point average so far this season ranked 18th in the NBA, still putting him among the leaders but obviously well off his usual pace.

He's averaged at least 25 points per game in each of his eight full seasons with the Rockets, but he has never been able to get the team, which hasn't won a title since winning two straight in 1994-95, past the Western Conference finals.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

Harden reported late for camp. He also was fined $50,000 earlier this season for conduct detrimental to the league related to him not following the health and safety protocols put into place by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association for navigating a season during the pandemic.

Harden's teammates were left to prepare for the Spurs and answer questions about his disparaging comments.

"It's a little disappointing," forward Christian Wood said. "It hurts the team chemistry a little bit."

Veteran DeMarcus Cousins, who is in his first year in Houston after signing as a free agent, was far more direct.

"The disrespect started way before any interview," Cousins said. "Just the approach to training camp showing up the way he did, the antics off the court. I mean, disrespect started way before. So this isn't something that all of a sudden happened last night."

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