James Harden # 13 of the Houston Rockets looks on during the second half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on December 05, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.
Vaughn Ridley | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
If the Brooklyn Nets knew for sure they would land James Harden, perhaps the club could have delayed a deal with Motorola and done a tougher deal.
The jersey patch deal would be worth more with three out of two leading players. That’s the brand power of a National Basketball Association superstar.
And Harden is sure to give the Nets more brand appeal once he hits the New York basketball scene, while the James Dolan-owned Knicks will only be able to watch.
The Nets complete a trade that will drag 2018 NBA MVP Harden into a trade with the Houston Rockets that involves two other teams, six different players, four draft picks, and four draft swap options (trading picks ), according to various reports.
The Nets did not immediately return a phone call requesting verification of the deal.
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is also included in the trade that will send him to the Rockets. And the Cleveland Cavaliers even landed a few assets, including the Taurean Prince, 2016 first round. With Harden earning $ 41 million in salary this year, the clubs were expected to match salaries in the deal; hence the plethora of actors involved.
A day after expressing his frustration, Harden finally gets his wish to be traded and reunite with former teammate Kevin Durant and fellow star Kyrie Irving – whenever he can return.
The Nets also won the deal as their brand grows with Harden’s stardom and the massive following he brings with him. The Nets were already in good shape with Durant’s return, tied with Irving, which helped secure the Motorola patch deal. Harden gives the team another bump, and means Alibaba co-founder and team owner Joe Tsai has three NBA superstars since buying the team for more than $ 2 billion. dollars in 2019.
“There is a really big impact potential,” Jene Elzie, director of growth for New York sports agency Athletes First Partners, said in an interview with TBEN on Wednesday.
‘Intensely fans of James Harden’
Elzie, former vice president of international marketing for the NBA, highlighted a tendency among sports fans to side with athletes more than teams, especially in the NBA. She said Harden’s transaction will help the Nets brand grow in New York and abroad.
“We’re seeing more today, especially with the proliferation of social media among young sports consumers; this trend toward a more player-focused fandom,” Elzie said. “Now people are following the players to establish their favorite team.
“There is a subset of fans who are intensely fans of James Harden who will now be associated both in the Brooklyn market and across the country,” she said, adding that the Nets would develop on overseas “crazy basketball markets” like China and the Philippines.
“I think the Nets have a very clear strategy on how they want to increase their attractiveness,” Elzie said. “Certainly, Joe Tsai coming from outside the United States and having this global perspective; the mission is clear.”
Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant # 7 shoots the ball against the Washington Wizards in a preseason game on December 13, 2020 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Nathaniel S. Butler | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
The brand increase due to Harden’s landing could help offset a shortfall related to the lack of income in the arena during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nets CEO John Abbamondi joined TBEN’s “Squawk Box” in December and predicted that the team would have to deal with revenue issues throughout the 2020-2021 season due to Covid-19.
Abbamondi said the NBA will have a 40% impact on its earnings with fans still limited in arenas, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon with the league currently experiencing epidemics at its clubs.
“Income that requires [the Barclays Center] be full, and it won’t be for a while, ”Abbamondi said. So we’re definitely going to be hit, but we have an opportunity ahead of us, and we think it’s a great opportunity to entertain our fans through TV and other media. “
So far this season, the Nets are seeing an increase in their local TV ratings on YES Network, and the club’s interest among national networks will only grow when the NBA releases the second half of its schedule with Harden now in the mix.
Abbamondi also hinted that NBA teams could welcome fans in time for the playoffs, where Gates earnings are typically at their highest level. The addition of Harden helps here, too, as tickets could be in demand if the virus goes away before the playoffs and fans are welcome.
“A championship alone is great,” said Elzie. “But having another star player will help earn tickets and build fan engagement.”