It might be years before we understand all the implications of the blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Nets this week. The move reunites him with his old Thunder teammate Kevin Durant, and it brings a dramatic end to a Rockets tenure that has seen its fair share of highs and lows.
Houston can breathe a sigh of relief now that the turmoil and uncertainty has been lifted and they can turn their attention to figuring out how their disparate pieces fit together and what the future might hold for this roster. For Harden and the Nets, anything less than a championship will be viewed as a major disappointment.
There are, however, more minor concerns on the horizon as Harden embarks on his new journey in Brooklyn, but concerns nonetheless. We’re talking, of course, about the question of his jersey number, which is currently occupied by Landry Shamet. To be clear, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Shamet would surrender his number to Harden, but not without a little friendly convincing from the latter.
Harden took it upon himself to make the opening volley.
Landry Shamet might have to find a new number 😅
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 15, 2021
He later sweetened the pot a little, which appeared to get Shamet’s attention.
— Travonne Edwards (Blk Tray) (@Travonne) January 16, 2021
It helps that Shamet is being a good sport about it. After all, it isn’t the first time he’s had to relinquish his uniform number in an act of deference to an incoming superstar.
Landry Shamet probably hates trade deadlines pic.twitter.com/AoR8bPOxT6
— ethan (@okcfanethan) January 14, 2021
But unlike the Jimmy Butler situation, it looks like Shamet will actually receive come recompense this time.
Jimmy Butler on what he gave 76ers rookie Landry Shamet in exchange for the No. 23: “A firm pat on the rear end. Got it.” He also joked that he wanted the No. 25 but “for some reason” the team wouldn’t give it to him
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) December 1, 2018
Harden’s generosity here also comes off the heels of accusations of being disrespectful to his former Rockets teammates, some of whom — namely John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins — took personally his lack of engagement on court and his comments about the team off it, accusations to which Harden balked at.
The jersey number in question, No. 13, also happens to be the name of the restaurant Harden is planning to open later this month in Houston despite his exit, the unfortunate timing of which has prompted scorned fans to preemptively pelt it with bad reviews online. Regardless, it appears Harden will be wearing the number he’s worn since his high school days when he makes his debut for the Nets this weekend.