A couple of weeks before the start of the NBA season, everybody was talking about James Harden, as he had reportedly told the Houston Rockets that he wanted to be traded away from the team after another failed playoff run.
The former MVP showed up late to the team's training camp. He was out of shape and clearly didn't have any kind of intention or motivation to play at the highest level until the team granted him his wish.
Needless to say, plenty of teams started inquiring about his availability and tried to put together an offer to land him. And, even though he eventually landed in Brooklyn with the Nets, it seems like he was pretty close to joining the Miami Heat.
Houston Rockets Wanted Too Much For James Harden, Miami Heat Didn't Cave In
According to Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report, the Miami Heat were quite aggressive in their pursuit of Harden. However, Houston's asking price was just too steep and Pat Riley didn't want to play ball.
As per the report, the Houston Rockets wanted every player from the Miami Heat's young core: Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Precious Achiuwa, Kendrick Nunn, two first-round picks and four pick swaps in return for their superstar shooting guard.
At the end of the day, the Heat held on to their young stars and the Brooklyn Nets gave away multiple picks and young players to pair Harden with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but you can't help to wonder what could've been had he landed in South Beach instead.
Pairing James Harden with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler would've instantly turned the Heat into championship contenders, especially considering they were just coming off a trip to the NBA Finals in the bubble. Now, I guess we'll never know.