Con #2 – he has one of the richest deals in NBA History
Currently, Harden has three years left on one of the richest deals in NBA History. These three years have salary totals of $40, 43, and 46 million.
If he continues to play to the MVP level we have seen over the last five years; then this money is well spent. But, if he takes a step back or has an injury, this could be one of the worst deals in the NBA.
It’s likely that Harden stays in similar shape and that he has two or three more years at the current superstar level he is at. But, as we have seen with all-time great players before, it only takes one injury to ruin a player’s career.
The late, great Kobe Bryant was never the same after tearing his Achilles while still in his prime. When he returned, he lacked the first step and bounce that made him so great when he was at his peak.
Harden has never had a serious injury, and his shape and strong body lend themselves to the rigors of 82-game basketball. But, if something untoward were to happen in the shape of an injury, then this contract would be a bad one.
Pro #3 – the Blazers would be instant championship contenders
Any team that trades for Harden that isn’t already a championship contender, would become one right away when he stepped onto their floor.
Harden’s 30 point per game scoring almost always means that the team he is on gets home-court advantage in the playoffs because of their win total, and when he is alongside another superstar, IE Chris Paul, you will have team offenses that score at NBA record rates.
Two and three years ago in the playoffs, Harden and Paul were on the verge of eliminating the Golden State Warriors before injury, and some Stephen Curry inspired offense ended their chances.
Harden’s shotmaking is a top-five skill in the NBA. Alongside LeBron James playmaking and scoring, and Curry and Kevin Durant’s shooting, Harden has skills that very few others in the league possess.
If the Blazers traded for Harden, they would line him up next to Damian Lillard. This pairing would be the best backcourt in the NBA right away. Fit issues may be of concern, but putting two of the best high-volume shooters in the NBA on one team, would give the Blazers a certain conference finals run.