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Report: If James Harden asks for trade Brooklyn tops list as landing spot

Michael Holley and Michael Smith discuss trade rumors with the NBA draft and free agency approaching and if Russell Westbrook could be dealt to the Knicks, as well as why New York would be smart to acquire the star.

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, all in a Brooklyn Nets uniform?

That’s a long way from reality, the Rockets want to keep Harden and try to make a run this season. However, if Harden looks at his situation in Houston with Russell Westbrook asking to get out and decides it is time to move on as well, Brooklyn is emerging as a landing spot, reports Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne, and Zach Lowe of ESPN.

Durant and Harden -- past teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder -- have recently discussed the possibility, but there have yet to be trade discussions between the two front offices...

The Nets are believed to be considering the viability of the idea, but it is unclear how far the franchise would go in delivering Houston the assets it might require to trade for Harden.

If the Rockets did decide to engage in trade talks on Harden, they’ve privately made it clear that they would require a monstrous return of players, draft picks and pick swaps. The Nets have two borderline All-Star guards on the roster -- Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie -- and several more intriguing young players.

Sources told NBC Sports the talks are currently player-driven (meaning them and their camps), but in today’s NBA that’s how a lot of the big trades start.

The trade could work with LeVert, Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, and picks going to the Rockets. Or, instead of Prince, there could be other, younger players on the Brooklyn roster that interest Houston, plus a lot more picks.

Could a combination of Harden, Durant, and Irving fit together? Yes. Probably. There is only one basketball, and all three have been seen as ball stoppers in the offense at points, but that is also a lot of scoring firepower to match up with. Durant worked well in a share-the-ball system in Golden State (even if he wasn’t always happy), and Harden was fantastic off-ball back with Durant in OKC. As Mike D’Antoni was fond of saying about Harden and Chris Paul, elite players have a way of figuring it out. If the Nets re-sign Joe Harris as a shooter it helps with spacing, although owner Joe Tsai will set luxury tax records very quickly.

This trade would make the Nets must-watch television.

For the Rockets, if Harden and Westbrook are leaving, they will be looking for players and picks to help jumpstart a rebuild. It would also mean every veteran on the roster, such as Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker, are available.

This trade is far from completed. Harden has to ask for it, then Brooklyn would have to come up with enough players and picks to make it work for Houston — and that price is going to be rich. It may be too much to get a deal put together.

But the Nets are all in to win right now, and if they land Harden they become a potential title favorite.