The NBA’s three-point era has had it’s last days; the two biggest stars in the league have decided to team up together rather than sign big contracts. The future of this style will be less about individual talent, and more about how well a group can coexist on an already crowded floor.

The “james harden trade details” is a story that has been making headlines for the last week. The James Harden-Ben Simmons trade and Russell Westbrook’s recent debacle could mean the official end of the NBA’s big three era.

The James Harden-Ben Simmons Trade and Russell Westbrook Debacle Could Mean the Official End of the NBA’s Big Three Era

The James Harden-Ben Simmons deal between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers’ absence of any moves despite Russell Westbrook’s nightmare, were two of the most notable happenings during the 2022 NBA trade deadline.

It dates back farther, but the attraction of Big Threes or Superteams has dominated the NBA for the last decade and a half (whatever your choice of verbiage). Consider the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, or the Miami Heat’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

A Big Three may be defined in a variety of ways. However, for the sake of this exercise, we may describe it in terms of three (clearly) key characteristics:

  • Are the three players all-time greats?
  • Was there a lot of buzz about the team around the league?
  • In the NBA, are all three players regarded “stars”?

With those regulations in mind, the issue is whether the league is moving away from the Big Three era.

James Harden wanted a trade and was eventually able to get out of Brooklyn.

It would be more true to say he pouted his way out of Brooklyn. Alternatively, he may have moaned his way out. Alternatively, he may have screamed his way out.

Whatever your feelings about the situation, Harden got what he wanted and was transferred to Philadelphia.

That was the conclusion of an exciting, interesting, dramatic — but very quick — deal to join the Nets alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Although the solution is self-evident, let us double-check our criteria:

  • Are the three players all-time greats? Yes.
  • Was there a lot of buzz about the team around the league? Yes.
  • In the NBA, are all three players regarded “stars”? Yes.

As a result, The Beard’s departure from Brooklyn shattered a Big Three. Given that the three only played 16 games together, this is rather remarkable. This is considered a failure.

Russell Westbrook’s trial with the Lakers has likewise failed.

Will the James Harden trade and Russell Westbrook's time with the Lakers end the NBA's time with Big Threes?

Will the James Harden trade and Russell Westbrook's time with the Lakers end the NBA's time with Big Threes? During the first quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers, wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey, congratulates James Harden of the Houston Rockets. Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Before the Harden-Simmons deal, the Lakers made the NBA’s most recent blockbuster trade when they went all-in on getting Russ from the Wizards, most likely at the insistence of LeBron and Anthony Davis.

To double-check:

  • Are the three players all-time greats? Yes.
  • Was there a lot of buzz about the team around the league? Yes.
  • Are all three players considered NBA superstars? Yes.

After the way things have gone in Los Angeles this year, Westbrook may no longer meet the final half of that qualification. However, he remains a household name and was unquestionably a “star” when he arrived in Hollywood.

Russ and his team were in ninth place in the Western Conference with a record of 26-30 going into a meeting with the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 12. The season has been a disaster.

So both of these teams — the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers — had Big Threes, and both failed.

Is the NBA moving away from star-studded lineups?

Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving played 16 fewer regular-season games together than LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook (18 so far).

— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) February 10, 2022

Here are the last 10 NBA champions, along with whether or not they had a Big Three (Big Three champions in bold) based on our criteria:

  • LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh led the Miami Heat in 2012. Yes, there is a Big Three.
  • LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh led the Miami Heat in 2013. Yes, there is a Big Three.
  • Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Kawhi Leonard led the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. There aren’t any Big Three (Parker is likely one, but not a clear Hall of Famer).
  • Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green led the Golden State Warriors in 2015. Yes, there is a Big Three.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers, 2016 – LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Love is right on the money, but he’s not a certain Hall of Famer. There aren’t any Big Three.
  • Curry, Thompson, and Durant led the Golden State Warriors to victory in 2017. Yes, there is a Big Three.
  • Curry, Thompson, and Durant lead the Golden State Warriors in 2018. Yes, there is a Big Three.
  • Leonard, Pascal Siakam, and Kyle Lowry lead the Toronto Raptors in 2019. There aren’t any Big Three.
  • Los Angeles Lakers – James, Davis, and Rajon Rondo in 2020? Kyle Kuzma, anyone? There aren’t any Big Three.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday will lead the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021. There aren’t any Big Three (No for both Middleton and Holiday in categories one and three).

In the last ten seasons, there have been five Big Three champions and five non-Big Three champions.

Take a peek at the past three champions. Giannis Antetokounmpo is an MVP surrounded by two fantastic role players, Bron is an MVP surrounded by a superstar and role players, and Kawhi is an MVP surrounded by terrific role players. There’s a pattern here.

With the last three NBA champions constructed around a single “A+” MVP and “B/B+” role players, and then this year’s Harden and Westbrook meltdowns, the answer is clear: the NBA’s Big Three era is over.

Basketball Reference provided all statistics.

Ben Simmons and James Harden are among the NBA’s trade deadline winners and losers. LeBron James is left hanging when they get their wish.

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