When the NBA lifted its trade moratorium on Monday, chaos ensured. Among the names that started to travel around the rumor mill was Houston Rockets star James Harden.
The 31-year-old six-time All NBA guard expressed his interest to move on and pursue a championship elsewhere earlier on Monday. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Harden rejected an extension offer to become the first player ever to earn over $50 million per year. The deal would have set records and re-affirmed Houston’s desire to build around the 2018 MVP.
The Brooklyn Nets have emerged as the frontrunner to trade for Harden. Still, for one of the league’s best players to leave, all parties involved would have to be in agreement. So far, that doesn’t look like that’s the case.
According to Marc Stein, NBA insider with the New York Times, the Rockets remain committed to keeping Harden in Houston.
The Rockets, at this juncture, remain intent on keeping James Harden and trying to rebuild the team's relationship with him despite reports of Harden's growing discontent, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 17, 2020
Harden isn’t the only star that wants to get away from the Rockets. Superstar point guard Russell Westbrook reportedly wants out of Houston as well in order to be the number one option elsewhere.
At this point, the Rockets and owner Tilman Fertita seem to be floundering. The organization has undergone a complete overhaul starting with the departures of general manager Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D’Antoni. Houston filled those positions successfully but didn’t foresee more unrest from the team’s players.
Those other key former Houston organization members have quickly landed back on their feet. Morey took over the Philadelphia 76ers basketball operations, while D’Antoni headed to Brooklyn to become an assistant coach under Steve Nash.
Now, it’s possible that Harden might re-unite with his former head coach on the Nets.
Stay tuned for more NBA news, including updates on Harden’s decision.