Let's take a moment to remember the Brooklyn Nets of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving -- the greatest theoretical team of all time, and for 16 glorious games an unstoppable scoring machine capable of making magic through beautiful ball movement or domineering one-on-one play.
The Nets traded everything they had to add Harden to the Durant-Irving tandem. They recouped a good portion of that and got younger by flipping Harden and Paul Millsap for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks -- a roundabout, if unpleasant, vindication of their decision to nab a third star.
The Harden-Simmons megadeal was the defining move of one of the wildest trade deadlines ever. It reshaped the league, beefing up the Eastern Conference around the Miami Heat and defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
Every trade deadline leaves some players, coaches and teams facing more pressure than they were under 24 hours before. Let's bounce around and see who's newly on notice. (If you want a more straight "winners and losers"-style evaluation of these trades, you can find it in Thursday's Lowe Post podcast.)
Harden couldn't make it work in Houston with Dwight Howard. He wasn't the first or last teammate to clash with Howard. Harden nearly made the Finals alongside Chris Paul, but grew tired of Paul's leadership style; Harden pushed Houston, then run by current Sixers GM Daryl Morey, to flip Paul and major draft compensation for Russell Westbrook -- a deal that became an organizational catastrophe.
After one more failed playoff run with Westbrook, Harden was done in Houston. He sulked and threw lazy passes until the Rockets traded him where he wanted to go -- to Brooklyn. When things got difficult there, Harden got wanderlust again -- chasing a new star in a new city.