Report: NBA insider lays out how Cavs can acquire James Harden

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Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets superstar James Harden reportedly wants to be traded to an Eastern Conference contender.

While the Cleveland Cavaliers certainly don’t fit that description, The Athletic’s Joe Vardon explained how Cleveland could make a competitive offer for Harden.

Vardon proposed a deal centered around draft picks and some of the Cavs’ young core, including Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. as potential options to trade.

“The Cavs would still need to add players to the deal to make the salaries work (Harden will be paid $41 million this season),” Vardon wrote. “Cleveland drafted Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick in 2018 and Darius Garland with the No. 5 pick in 2019. Kevin Porter Jr., the last pick of the first round in 2019, has shown real promise — perhaps more than Sexton or Garland. Do the Rockets see any of the upside in these players that the Cavs see? If yes, they could be had in a trade for Harden, because, of course they could.

“Then there are Cleveland’s future picks. The Cavs control their own first-round picks for the foreseeable future, as well as the Bucks’ first rounder in 2022. That Milwaukee pick is unprotected; imagine its value if Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign the max and winds up somewhere other than Milwaukee in 2021-22. The Cavs also have a bunch of second-round picks to offer, including the one they already have from the Rockets in 2022.”

It is an interesting idea for a Cavs team that already has solid veterans such as Kevin Love and Andre Drummond.

However, acquiring Harden may not be enough to push Cleveland over the top in the East.

The Cavs would have to decide whether or not a player of Harden’s caliber is worth mortgaging their future for.

On top of that, there is no guarantee that Houston entertains the offer. However, the Cavs do have as many assets as anyone else to get a potential deal done.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.