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#pounditWednesday, May 12, 2021

James Harden

DeMarcus Cousins rips James Harden for ‘disrespect’

DeMarcus Cousins

James Harden appears to finally be on his way out of Houston, and DeMarcus Cousins is one Rockets player who will not be sad to see him go.

With reports swirling that Harden is on the verge of being traded, Cousins said Wednesday that the way the former MVP has been acting is “completely unfair” to the rest of the team. He also ripped Harden for the “disrespect” he showed long before he trashed the Rockets franchise following Tuesday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

If Cousins is saying that publicly, you can bet his opinion is shared throughout the locker room. He’s also been with the Rockets for less than two months, so it’s noteworthy that he feels that strongly about the situation after such a brief time with the team.

Harden looked like he was loafing during Tuesday night’s loss, and the comments he made after the game made it clear he is done playing for the Rockets. The team then told him to stay home from practice on Wednesday. It appears Harden is on the verge of being traded to one of two teams.

Report: James Harden could be traded to one of these two teams soon

James Harden

James Harden publicly displayed his frustration with the Houston Rockets following Tuesday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, and it appears he may finally be successful in forcing a trade.

The Rockets are weighing offers for Harden from the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, and Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic report that Houston could be nearing a deal with one of the two teams.

The Rockets have been seeking a package of first-round picks and young talent in return for Harden. According to The Athletic, the Nets have offered all of their four future first-round picks and three future pick swaps in exchange for Harden. That would essentially be wagering their entire future to win now with Harden, which is risky considering Kyrie Irving has been away from the team and no one seems to know when he will return.

Philadelphia may be able to outbid the Nets if they are willing to include Ben Simmons. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has a close relationship with Harden from the time Morey spent as general manager of the Rockets, but he has already shot down talk of trading Simmons. Of course, there would be little incentive for Morey to publicly state his willingness to trade one of his best assets.

The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors have also expressed interest in Harden, The Athletic reports. There are several other teams that Harden is said to be open to playing for.

Harden has not openly confirmed that he wants a trade, but the comments he made on Tuesday night left little doubt. He’s unhappy with the direction of the 3-6 Rockets and clearly wants out. While it initially seemed like Houston wanted to work things about with the former MVP, that is unlikely to happen.

Announcer takes shot at hefty-looking James Harden

James Harden gut

An NBA TV host took a shot at James Harden prior to Tuesday’s Houston Rockets-Los Angeles Lakers game.

NBA TV showed a clip of Harden in layup lines before the game. The announcer made a joke at Harden’s expense, saying “James Harden, definitely had a pregame meal.”

That is most definitely a fat joke about Harden.

The former NBA MVP reported to the Rockets late to start the season and has long looked out of shape (check out this photo). Even a famous actor had a joke at Harden’s expense.

As if Harden’s playing shape didn’t already make it clear that the guard wants out of Houston, the guard’s comments after the team’s loss to the Lakers sure did.

James Harden has ominous comment about his Rockets future

James Harden

James Harden shared an ominous comment about his future with the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The Rockets lost 117-100 at home to the Los Angeles Lakers to fall to 3-6 on the season. Harden has not seemed to have motivation and dedication to the team all season.

After the loss, Harden said he didn’t think the situation in Houston could be fixed.

Here’s how it sounded:

Harden arrived in Houston in 2012-2013 and led the team to the playoffs eight straight years. He became an MVP and scoring champ during that period, though he has had postseason struggles.

The Rockets got rid of Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey over the offseason, and Harden took his sweet time reporting to the team. It’s been clear for over a month that he doesn’t want to be there. The team has been stubborn about the situation, but he is making it clear where he stands.

Here are the teams Harden reportedly is open to being traded.

Rockets reportedly believe they can keep James Harden through season

James Harden

The Houston Rockets do not appear to be actively exploring trade possibilities for James Harden, and there has been talk for quite some time that they would prefer to keep the former MVP. Apparently they feel they can do that until at least next offseason.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on Monday that executives around the NBA believe the Rockets are growing increasingly confident that Harden will be content to remain in Houston at least through the remainder of the season.

While Harden still would prefer to be traded, he said Saturday that the Rockets “have a chance to do something special” if they can continue to build chemistry. Houston is off to a 3-5 start, but John Wall appears to have returned to his pre-injury form. O’Connor also notes that Harden and Christian Wood are enjoying great success in Stephen Silas’ pick-and-roll offense.

The Rockets have supposedly placed an unrealistically high price tag on Harden. That is the main reason he hasn’t been traded, but they have likely done that because they have no real desire to move him.

Harde, who is averaging 26.0 points and 11.0 assists per game through the early part of the season, recently added two more teams to his preferred trade destinations. It’s possible he could turn up the pressure on the Rockets closer to the March 25 trade deadline, but Houston is hoping the team has made enough progress between now and then to make Harden want to stick around.

Rockets legend caught on hot mic dissing James Harden

James Harden

James Harden may be staying with the Houston Rockets for now, but that does not mean that he is back in everyone’s good graces just yet.

The Rockets fell to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday by the final of 111-104. After the game, franchise legend Calvin Murphy, who is now an analyst for the team, discussed Harden’s performance. After the segment was over and the broadcast cut away from the studio, Murphy dissed Harden, unaware that his mic was still on.

“He quit,” Murphy very audibly said about the former MVP Harden.

Harden scored a season-low 15 points against the Pacers (though he did add 12 assists). He was also held to just four points in the fourth quarter.

As for the Hall of Famer Murphy, who is 72 years old, he is a Rockets lifer. He played his entire 13-season NBA career with the team and has since gone on to work for them in various capacities, including as an assistant coach in the 1990s and now as an analyst.

We have not heard very flattering things about Harden in recent weeks, and Murphy’s comments may sum up the general sentiment in Houston about Harden right now.

Mike D’Antoni talked Nets out of James Harden trade?

Mike D'Antoni

Mike D’Antoni coached James Harden in Houston for the last four seasons, and that may have been plenty enough for him.

In an episode of his podcast this week, Bill Simmons of The Ringer hinted that D’Antoni, now an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets, may have talked the team out of trading for the former MVP Harden.

“I heard Brooklyn cooled off on Harden,” said Simmons. “I think one reason was D’Antoni. He was kinda like, ‘We’re good. Keep what you have. I think he [Harden] presents some problems.'”

Harden had been linked heavily to the Nets in past weeks, having reportedly had Brooklyn at the top of his list of possible trade destinations. Talks seem to have died down since then however. Nets trade asset Spencer Dinwiddie is also now out with a partly torn ACL, all but ruling out a deal for Harden.

The Harden-D’Antoni Rockets came close to winning an NBA title together a couple of times. But with the recent reports we heard about how the Rockets have operated in the Harden era, D’Antoni’s hesitance is understandable.

H/T NBA Reddit

Daryl Morey fined $50K for sending this tweet about James Harden

Daryl Morey

The NBA has once again shown that it takes its anti-tampering rules very seriously, and this time it is Philadelphia 76ers executive Daryl Morey who has to pay the price.

Morey has been fined $50K for a social media post he made about Houston Rockets star James Harden, the NBA announced on Monday. The fine stems from a tweet Morey sent on Dec. 20 that was actually a “memory” of an old tweet congratulating Harden for breaking the Rockets’ all-time franchise assist record. You can see the tweet below:

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the tweet was only live for a few minutes before Morey deleted it. The former Houston GM told NBA officials that the tweet came from an automated app.

The fine may seem ridiculous, but it is hardly a surprise. Draymond Green was fined the same amount recently for some seemingly innocent comments he made about a fellow NBA star.

Morey has a close relationship from Harden from when the two worked together in Houston. There have been rumblings that the two could reunite in Philly, which may have also contributed to the decision to fine Morey.

Report: NBA team hired private investigator for James Harden

James Harden

One prospective suitor for James Harden appears to be taking the intel process very seriously.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported on Wednesday that a team hired a private investigator to conduct a background check on Harden. Bontemps cited an unnamed executive from that team, who added that they were treating the process of gathering info on the former MVP as they would a draft prospect.

The disgruntled Houston Rockets star Harden continues to cause headaches with his behavior off the court. The NBA just fined him for violating safety protocols by attending an unapproved gathering without a mask.

Regardless, Harden’s list of potential trade destinations continues to grow. Interested parties may not necessarily be put off by Harden’s mischief. But it does sounds like they want to know exactly what they are getting into before pulling the trigger on a possible trade.

Report: James Harden adds two teams to preferred trade destinations

James Harden

James Harden is still desperate to leave Houston, and is once again expanding his list of preferred trade destinations to try to make something happen.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Harden has added the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers to his list of preferred landing spots. They join Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Miami, and Milwaukee as teams Harden has named as his preferences. There is no indication significant progress has been made with the Celtics or Trail Blazers on any deal.

The Rockets remain slow to make any progress with teams on Harden’s trade list. Most are unwilling to launch a pursuit, and those that are simply have not put together a package good enough to entice the Rockets yet. Houston is not bound by Harden’s preferences, as he has little leverage here. Doing so would simply be an act of making the process as smooth as possible for all involved.

At the very least, this is a signal that Harden hasn’t let up on his trade demands despite the other issues he’s created for himself.