- James Harden wants to be traded to the Sixers or Nets.
- Harden’s request comes days after Russell Westbrook also wanted out of Houston.
- Last week, both Harden and Westbrook expressed concern about the Rockets’ direction.
Houston, we have a problem.
The dissatisfaction of the Houston Rockets’ two All-Star guards has escalated within a week. And after Russell Westbrook has reportedly asked to be traded, James Harden reportedly wants to be dealt too.
According to the
Rockets star James Harden wants to be on a contender elsewhere, and Brooklyn and Philadelphia are believed to be his top desired trade destinations, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
Houston is fully comfortable keeping Harden and Russell Westbrook into the season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 16, 2020
“>latest scoop from Shams Charania of The Athletic, Harden wants to be traded to a contender elsewhere with sources saying that Philadelphia and Brooklyn as his preferred destinations.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook have expressed concerns about uncertainty of Rockets’ immediate future, sources told @wojespn and me. No trade requests have been made and Harden in particular remains engaged with front office in personnel discussions. https://t.co/kstEVb4EUI
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 11, 2020
Last week, the Rockets’ MVP backcourt expressed their concern on the direction of the franchise. It can be recalled that the team parted ways with head coach Mike D’Antoni after the Rockets’ second round ouster in the 2020 NBA playoffs. The Rockets went on to sign Dallas Mavericks’ assistant Stephen Silas as their new bench mentor but it was revealed that Harden pushed for Tyron Lue or John Lucas.
After D’Antoni’s departure, longtime general manager Daryl Morey also stepped down and he was replaced by Rafael Stone. Rockets team owner Tillman Fertitta expressed his desire to keep the Rockets’ core and contend for the title during the upcoming season. But with their new GM not buying to the small ball style which the Rockets’ current roster is designed for, rumors of changes during the short offseason lingered over the team.
D’Antoni ended up joining Steve Nash’s coaching staff in Brooklyn as an assistant while Morey ended up agreeing to become the head of basketball operations in Philadelphia. With both the Nets and Sixers expected to contend this season, the links to both teams have ignited rumors that Harden could be going to either Eastern Conference team.
Requesting For A Trade
Breaking: Russell Westbrook wants to leave the Rockets, per @ShamsCharania pic.twitter.com/dMGVWKX5QE
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 12, 2020
Just before his 32nd birthday, Westbrook reportedly requested to be traded. Although the Rockets have not made it official that Russ is available on the market, several potential partners have emerged. Westbrook is being reportedly eyed by the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets, among others.
Harden was initially reported to be staying put. But after these rumors continue to swirl, he is said to be seeking a way out as well. Even before Harden and Westbrook aired out their concerns, the Philadelphia 76ers had already declared that they will pursue Harden despite the Rockets’ denial of his availability. With Morey being the executive who turned Harden from Sixth Man to MVP, there is always a possibility that the Bearded One will want to play for the Sixers.
In the last couple of days, the Brooklyn Nets have emerged as a potential landing spot for Harden too. According to rumors, Hardened is fascinated with the idea of playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Harden and Durant played for the OKC Thunder team that went all the way to the 2012 NBA Finals. And yes, coach D’Antoni-whose system Harden thrived in, is now an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets.
Rockets Want To Win Next Season
It’s no secret Mr. Fertitta wants to win now with our Rockets ? pic.twitter.com/TfZaXfWbTb
— Rockets Nation (@RocketsNationCP) November 8, 2020
Before all these trade talks, the Rockets were firm that they want to bring the entire band back next season. Tillman Fertitta said that there was no reason to break up the Harden-Westbrook tandem since the two superstars are still in their primes. Fertitta was firm when he said that he wanted the Rockets to play for the championship next season.
But while ownership wanted to paint their own picture, it appears that their stars have other things in mind. When D’Antoni chose not to re-sign with the Rockets, that was a red flag already. After Morey followed, change became inevitable.
While you’d like to think that this is purely chit chat, the fact these rumors refuse to go away is an indication that there could be more to it. The Rockets have fallen from +2500 when Stone was hired to +3300 as of 11/16/20 at BetOnline.ag to win the NBA title. Now, the Rockets have less than two month to fix their issues and focus on winning the title.