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#pounditFriday, May 7, 2021

Report: James Harden preferred John Wall over Russell Westbrook

James Harden

The Houston Rockets completed a blockbuster trade on Wednesday when they sent Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a first-round pick. The obvious question now is whether James Harden will be the next to go, but the Westbrook trade may have actually improved Houston’s chances of keeping the former NBA MVP.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on “Get Up!” Thursday morning that Harden would prefer to play with Wall rather than Westbrook.

“He had a preference of John Wall over Russell Westbrook,” Wojnarowski said of Harden. “Although, the last couple of years, Harden has moved teammates in and out. He brought Chris Paul in and moved him out — same with Russell Westbrook now. Whether (trading Westbrook is) going to be enough to convince him to stay or want to be there long term, the Rockets aren’t sure about that.”

One report immediately after Westbrook was traded claimed the Rockets remain committed to Harden and hope to contend with him leading the way this season.

Even if Harden would rather play with Wall than Westbrook, there are plenty of question marks surrounding the former. Wall missed all of last season while he recovered from a torn Achilles. He says he is fully healthy now, but he has not played since December of 2018.

Harden appears to have two teams in mind if the Rockets trade him, but he’s under contract for two more seasons. He has no real leverage, which is likely why Houston is content to hold onto him for now.

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

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