Good morning, hoop heads! Grab your coffee and let’s dive into another edition of The Morning Dunk!
James Harden Finally Traded
The drama is finally over after the 76ers caved to Harden's unceasing trade requests. Philly shipped the rotund shooting guard (along with PJ Tucker) to the Clippers for Nic Batum, Robert Covington, Marcus Morris, and a pick swap.
Last night, the Clippers were +2500 in NBA Championship odds. Now, LA is at +1300. But it would appear it's not just basketball that drew Harden to L.A.
BREAKING: The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed on a trade to send guard James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers, sources tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/wAyuJKMfAw— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 31, 2023
The California lifestyle seems far more fitting for a man who once had his jersey retired at a strip club in Houston after reportedly spending $1 million in a night. Surely he grew tired of Philly cheesesteaks, trash in the streets, and the same ol' ladies of the night — especially when the Cali girls are twice as nice.
Now the Clippers have one of the best starting groupings in basketball with Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. The Clips should succeed as long as Harden focuses on this foursome (and not a different one in the wee hours of the night).
Other Highlights from Around the Association
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown dropped 16 of an eventual 36 points in the first quarter to lead Boston to a dominant 126-107 win over the Wizards. Nobody seems to have any idea what Washington is doing this season, and apparently playing defense is optional.
Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards continued his hot start to the season. Edwards put up 31 points and seven assists against the Atlanta Hawks. Ant looks like a man on a mission as the T-Wolves hunt for a playoff spot in the loaded Western Conference.
Bucks vs Heat: A Scorching Playoff Rematch
The NBA relived the electric intensity of the recent Bucks-Heat playoff rivalry last night. With one plot twist, Dame Lillard played in a “Good Land” green jersey.
After requesting a trade to the Miami Heat, and only the Heat, so many believed that Lillard would inevitably end up in South Beach. So much for that.
Ultimately, Dame gives the Bucks a flamethrowing offensive weapon next to the league’s most unstoppable force. It’s early, but the results have been sensational so far.
Keep an eye on this matchup as the season progresses. Bucks-Heat is sure to provide some fireworks that are likely to carry into the postseason.
Nuggets Strike Gold: 4-0 and Counting
Let’s not overlook the reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets, who effectively carved a path to dominance with a 4-0 start to the season. Nikola Jokic is off the horse farm and back on the hardwood. He’s picked up right where he left off, averaging a triple-double at 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists so far this season.
Nikola Jokic notches his 107th career triple double, tying LeBron James and Jason Kidd for 4th all-time 👑— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 31, 2023
12-of-16 FG pic.twitter.com/1mcHy5CrpM
The Jamal Murray-Jokic connection continues to be unstoppable, and the Nuggets have shot the lights out from three, hitting nearly 40% of their triples so far. If the Joker and his band continue to play like this, the NBA may need to light the bat signal to have any hope of preventing back-to-back Nuggets championships.