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#pounditMonday, March 8, 2021

Report: Rockets owner was ‘adamant’ about not trading James Harden to 76ers

Tilman Fertitta

The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers were reportedly the two finalists to acquire James Harden, but did only one of them ever have an actual chance to land the former NBA MVP?

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports said on his “Posted Up” podcast this week that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta did not want to trade Harden to Philadelphia. That may have something to do with former Houston general manager Daryl Morey now being the president of basketball operations for the 76ers.

“After that, I was told that Tilman Fertitta – the Houston Rockets owner – he was just adamant that they not make a deal with Philly, obviously with Daryl Morey being the GM over there now,” Haynes said, via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports.

The Rockets ended up trading Harden to the Nets in a multi-team deal. They landed a boatload of picks and also acquired Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers, so it’s certainly possible Brooklyn’s offer was the best one on the table.

Or, perhaps Morey instructed Rockets GM Rafael Stone to not trade Harden to Philly. Stone still could have used the Sixers as a negotiating tactic even if that were the case.

Had the 76ers offered Ben Simmons, even Fertitta may have been willing to take that deal. It does not sound like Simmons was ever on the table, however.

Morey resigned as GM of the Rockets following last season. It initially looked like he was going to take time off to be with his family, but he then signed a deal with the 76ers. Fertitta may have been bitter about how that went down. He also could have been bothered when Morey was fined for tampering with Harden.

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