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Is James Harden worth the trouble ... IF the Nets are even interested?

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San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

There’s no evidence that the Nets have strong interest in James Harden and Houston seemingly has no interest in a Brooklyn package headed by Caris LeVert.

And now, in the immortal words of astronaut Jim Lovell, Houston, we have a problem. On Wednesday, the NBA had to cancel the Rockets-Thunder game because Houston couldn’t field eight healthy players, the bare minimum needed to play a game. It was all COVID-related and it must be said, Harden-related.

The NBA also declared James Harden “unavailable due to violation of health and safety protocols” after a video of a maskless Harden partying at a club surfaced on social media. For that, Harden was also fined $50,000 and must go into isolation for a yet indeterminate amount of time. Even though Harden contracted COVID-19 during the off-season, the league rules apply to all players. It’s just the latest issue with Harden who has reportedly asked for a trade, specifically to Brooklyn, gotten involved in altercations with teammates and been unapologetic about any of it.

So with all that —and the Nets dominating performance vs. Golden State— is there, indeed should there be, any interest in brining in the league’s leading scorer the last three years? At halftime of the Nets win, indeed the first topic for discussion among the TNT analysts was whether Houston should accept a package of LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie for Harden.

Really?

It’s hard to imagine Sean Marks wanting to break up a group he’s said he “sincerely” likes and/or “mortgage the future,” as he’s also said, for a player who’s been nothing but a headache for Rockets ownership, management and staff.

As Brian Lewis writes Wednesday in one of his takeaways from the Nets win, Brooklyn’s success combined with Harden’s issues could 1) further reduce the chances that the Nets will pick up another weapon and 2) increase the possibility that Nets Eastern Conference rivals will make a bid...

They don’t need to pay Houston’s price for James Harden. Sure, a three-time scoring champ makes them better, maybe even the best. But with the way they’ve come out firing, Nets GM Sean Marks almost has to let it ride with this roster for a while and see how it plays out. And their Eastern Conference foes (76ers, Heat) almost have to consider the consequences of letting Harden walk elsewhere.

Of course, things change (already have in the past 24 hours), but the way the Nets used their depth and versatility to dismantle Golden State on top of the tales of Harden’s arrogance is likely to cool off the clickbait.