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#pounditSaturday, April 10, 2021

Report: James Harden ‘highly likely’ to remain with Rockets for a while

James Harden

James Harden has made it clear to the Houston Rockets that he wants to be traded, but leverage is not on the side of the former NBA MVP. At the moment, the Rockets appear to be taking full advantage of that.

Harden has two years remaining on his contract, and the Rockets will need to be blown away to trade him. Sam Amick of The Athletic feels it is “highly likely” that Harden will remain with Houston through the early part of the 2020-21 season and potentially longer. The biggest reason for that is asking price.

Multiple reports have indicated that the Rockets have attached an astronomically high asking price to Harden. According to Amick, they want a combination of an All-Star player, a young prospect and first-round draft picks. Harden is an elite player, but very few — if any — teams are willing to assemble that kind of package.

If any team is eventually going to make a play for Harden, it could be the Philadelphia 76ers. Harden has a close relationship with new Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who was previously the GM of the Rockets. But even Philly is in no rush.

Amick reports that the 76ers want to see what new head coach Doc Rivers can do with their current roster. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid remain off-limits in trade talks, and the Sixers are only willing to acquire Harden if the price is slashed significantly.

Teams are also wary of Harden’s attitude, which is another reason they may not want to mortgage their futures. If you heard the report this week about why Russell Westbrook wanted out of Houston, you can understand the concern.

Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0

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