Rockets fans better hope Morey can work his magic and get Iguodala in the mix or maybe Kevin Love?

Iggy and CP3 may be the key to the 2020 NBA title

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

News Flash! The dynasty is over (at least for one year) and the race for the 2020 title in the NBA is wide open. Gone is the Bay Area "superteam" loaded with 4-star players and a supporting cast that does just enough of the dirty work to get the job done. The league is now all about 6 or 7 teams made up of dynamic duos that give their team and city hope that a title run could be in their future. The favorites could very well be the team that has the best 3rd option of the contenders, followed by the team that has the best overall supporting cast. The two teams in Los Angeles are the leaders of the pack with a deadly combination of star power and role players in all the right spots. Milwaukee has one all-world player and a deep roster of talented and capable veterans at every position and Boston is just loaded with above average talent on quite possibly the deepest collection of talent in the league. Philly may have lost J.J. Reddick, but they have Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. Teams like Houston, Dallas, Denver, Utah and Miami are waiting in the wings for the perfect deal or salary buyout that could put them over the top and into the mix to have a legitimate shot at a ring. With that said, I present to you the three players that could rearrange the NBA landscape between now and the playoffs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have told teams around the league that they are now open to trade offers for Kevin Love. The veteran power forward has a ton of playoff experience including a ring, he is a stretch-four that shoots a good percentage from distance and is capable of fitting right in with a contender to provide rebounding, locker room leadership and smart decision-making. Obviously he fits in better with teams like the Bucks, Celtics, Rockets and Clippers because of the stars they already have on those squads and style of play of coaching staff in place. I don't think he would be a good fit with his former teammate LeBron James and the Lakers because they had a rocky relationship in Cleveland, Anthony Davis already does what Love can do and numbers that would have to be involved salary wise would make it difficult to execute a deal. He would be a perfect fit in Houston because of his size, shooting ability and experience playing in a system where the ball is dominated by one or more players.

Chris Paul is a guy that a ton of teams around the league would love to have, but his contract and salary number have hindered and prohibited the majority of those clubs from exploring a trade. After his tumultuous stint in Houston and his hamstring that left H-town "hamstrung" in the playoffs two years ago, there were serious doubts if he could still play at a high level and contribute to a title contender. When he was traded to the Thunder he could have pushed back and fought the move, even possibly holding out, but instead he has embraced the jump to OKC and in the process proved to the world he has plenty left in the tank. The Lakers would love to find a way to add CP3 to the mix of AD and 'Bron if they could make it work financially. Miami tried to trade for him before the season and would love to put him next to Jimmy Butler to validate the Heat as a contender in the East. Milwaukee is another team where Paul's services would be sought after and his skill set would fit, but coming up with the players and money needed to consummate a deal, especially as a small market team, might be too big of a challenge for Giannis and company. Obviously the Rockets won't be exploring this option any time soon for obvious reasons that the fans of Houston know far too well. Red Nation just has to hope no contending team gets creative enough to work a deal for CP3 and catapult themselves into the race for the crown in either conference.

Believe it or not, the one player that could decide who raises the Larry O' Brien trophy this coming June is not a superstar or and all-star, it's Andre Iguodala. The veteran wing player is the perfect compliment to just about every team with a shooters chance to be playing in late June in the NBA. He has won titles with the Warriors and dealt with difficult situations both on and off the court, including in-fighting between stars like Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. He is an above average defender capable of guarding multiple positions at a high level and this in itself makes him a hot commodity that every team would love to have. If you leave him open he can knock down the 3-ball and if he gets out on the break he is capable of finishing at the rim whether he goes over someone, around them or to the line.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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