Does James Harden — a player who has had control over the culture and heavy sway over the roster in Houston for years, a player who dominates the ball, a guy known for his love of nightlife — fit in the intense, fitness-focused, more rigid military-style culture of the Miami Heat?
The Heat are reportedly willing to find out.
Miami would be open to a Harden trade and, despite some reports, Tyler Herro would be available, reports the plugged in Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
The Heat would have interest in Harden if the Rockets decide to trade him, according to the source. At this point, Houston has displayed no particular interest in granting his trade request…
Though some might wonder how Harden’s high shot totals and heavy on-the-ball tendencies would blend with a selfless, ball-sharing team, that doesn’t dissuade the Heat because of a belief that the way Harden plays is a byproduct of Houston’s style, not any reluctance on Harden’s part to play a team game…
But the source disputed any suggestion that Heat guard Tyler Herro would be untouchable in such a deal. Though the Heat loves Herro, the source advised against any conclusion that he wouldn’t be made available in a Harden deal if serious talks eventually happen. He would be in play.
Herro shows a lot of promise entering his second year in the league, but not top-three player on the planet, MVP-level promise — and that’s what Harden is right now. There are very few trades where Miami should make Herro available, but Harden is one of them. The only players not on the table in a Harden trade are Jimmy Butler and just-re-signed Bam Adebayo.
Put Harden with Butler and Adebayo, and Miami is better than the team that just reached the Finals and a serious title contender. That’s why Miami has to consider this trade. While it’s fair to wonder how well Harden would fit in the Miami culture, players with strong personalities such as LeBron James have found a way to make it work. As Mike D’Antoni said with Harden before, elite players have a way of figuring things out.
This deal may not come together. Houston is slow-playing this trade — as it should, the Rockets can still make a good deal at the March trade deadline or even next offseason — and there are teams such as Philadelphia that can put together a better trade package (based around Ben Simmons). Still, if you’re Miami and the price is Herro (plus Kelly Olynyk for salary and other players, and a few picks), then you have to be open and consider it.
Talent wins out in the NBA, and good luck finding a bigger talent than James Harden.