Houston Rockets superstar guard James Harden wants off of the team, after the departures of head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey. If he gets his wish sometime this year, it doesn’t sound like the Milwaukee Bucks will be the franchise that ponies up to get him.
The Bucks made one significant trade this year, sending a king’s ransom to the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday. Whether or not the solid guard is enough to get Milwaukee over the hump is up for debate, but it accomplished one major thing. Giannis Antetokounmpo is staying with the franchise for the long haul with his new contract extension, after significant speculation that he could leave for a big market club.
Acquiring a talent like James Harden would obviously put Milwaukee over the top in some respects, though it is unclear what they’d have to give up, or if they still have the amount of draft capital available to make a move like that after the Holiday trade. Of course, its a moot point, based on a report by The Athletic’s Sam Amick.
“Harden, it seems, is not seen as a good fit for this Bucks culture that has been so carefully curated by Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, general manager Jon Horst, coach Mike Budenholzer and so many others,” Amick writes. “They are not expected to pursue him.”
ICYMI, the Sixers swear they're not trading Ben Simmons and sources say they're evaluating this group before deciding on a possible James Harden deal. From there to Milwaukee, Miami and beyond, intel on Houston's early-season saga, at @TheAthletic https://t.co/gS7ROwxQLY
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 18, 2020
Amick reports that Giannis was active in the talks that led to the Holiday trade, as well as the pursuit of other second-tier players like Victor Oladipo. It isn’t a huge surprise that Harden wouldn’t be on his list of potential star teammates, though.
The two had a prolonged war-of-words in the media this past season, as they jockeyed for MVP positioning. Antetokounmpo would go on to win his second straight, beating out Harden, the 2018 MVP, and LeBron James.
“I wish I could just run and be 7 feet and just dunk,” Harden told Rachel Nichols in August. “Like, that takes no skill at all. I have to actually learn how to play basketball and have skill. I’ll take that any day.”
Earlier this month, the Milwaukee Bucks were listed as a team that James Harden is interesting in being dealt to, along with the oft-discussed Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, as well as the Miami Heat. Plenty can change, but it looks like they may be a safe cross-off for myriad reasons right now.