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#pounditSaturday, December 5, 2020

Articles tagged: James Harden

Report: Rockets could try to rebuild relationship with James Harden

James Harden

James Harden wants out of Houston and is reportedly hoping to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, but the Rockets are not working to grant him his wish — at least not yet.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on “SportsCenter” Tuesday that the Rockets have had no substantial trade conversations with the Nets. With Harden still under contract for two more seasons, Houston is planning to take things slow and possibly try to smooth things over with Harden.

“What the Rockets do have on their side is time. Harden is still signed for at least two more seasons and has an option for a third. You may see them slow-play this and try to rebuild the relationship with the organization,” Wojnarowski said. “They don’t have to rush into a deal. They can sit back in the marketplace and see if somebody comes in and tries to blow them away with an offer for Harden.”

In other words, a Harden trade is unlikely at this time. And if the Rockets commit to not trading Harden, they may not want to move Russell Westbrook, either. Like Harden, Westbrook is under contract for two more seasons with a player option for a third.

Harden and Westbrook are said to be concerned about the direction of the Rockets now that head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey have both moved on. One reporter also heard that the superstars want to be traded for political reasons.

Rockets stars want out because of owner’s Donald Trump support?

James Harden

James Harden and Russell Westbrook both want out of Houston, and reports have indicated that has to do with their lack of faith in the direction of the franchise now that head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey are gone. Is it possible politics have also played a role?

In the latest episode of his “Bucher & Friends Podcast,” Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher revealed he has been told Harden, Westbrook and other players want out of Houston in part because of owner Tilman Fertitta’s political views. Bucher says there was concern among NBA players inside the Orlando bubble that even though owners were saying the right thing and supporting player protests, they also continued to make donations to campaigns supporting Trump and other Republican politicians. That is apparently the main reason players considered boycotting and walking out on the season.

According to Bucher, there is a “revolt” brewing with the Rockets because of Fertitta’s support of Trump.

“For the most part, Fertitta is a staunch Republican and staunch Trump supporter. Add that to the equation of where the players’ mindset was in the bubble and coming out of the bubble, living in Texas, which is still red but moving ever more blue, I’m told that that was the influence and has other players feeling the same as Harden and Westbrook,” Bucher said.

Bucher went on to note that the rumblings “make sense” to him but he is not quite ready to report them as fact.

Numerous NBA stars have been outspoken in their opposition to Trump and the Republican Party. Most notably, LeBron James and Donald Trump have gone back and forth on several occasions. To this point, we had not heard anything about players not wanting to play for certain owners because of political views or affiliations.

James Harden turned down $50 million a year from Rockets

James Harden

Just how badly does James Harden want out of Houston? So badly that he reportedly turned down a contract extension offer for $50 million per year.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that Harden made it clear to Rockets ownership that he wants a trade to the Brooklyn Nets. The team reportedly tried to persuade Harden to remain with them by offering him a two-year, $103 million extension on top of his existing three years. Harden turned that down because he wants to be dealt to Brooklyn.

Reports last week said that both Harden and Russell Westbrook were concerned about the direction of the franchise. Westbrook reportedly wanted to be traded, while Harden was said to be committed to the team. That has apparently changed.

Harden reportedly views the Rockets’ championship window as having closed, and he believes he can win a championship by teaming with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

The Rockets’ preference is to try and keep Harden. Barring that, they would seek the best available trade package for the star.

Brooklyn meanwhile would have three star players if they were to land Harden. However, there might be a lot of dissatisfaction among the trio in terms of who gets the ball the most. That is assuming they would be able to make the trade.

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

Report: James Harden focused on trade to Nets

James Harden

James Harden appears to have a clear destination in mind as he seems to leave the Houston Rockets.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that Harden is focused on finding a trade to the Brooklyn Nets. Wojnarowski added that Harden has been in Los Angeles working out with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who would be his teammates if such a trade came to pass.

“Because James Harden is under contract in Houston, there’s not a great deal of leverage to force your way out,” Wojnarowski said. “But his focus is on getting to the Brooklyn Nets. He’s spent time in recent weeks out in L.A. working out with Kevin Durant, with Kyrie Irving. That’s his intention.”

The reveal that Harden has been working out with Durant and Irving is an important one. It certainly implies that the three of them have discussed the idea, and that both Durant and Irving are on board.

There’s another team that Harden is said to be interested in. That said, the Nets are clearly getting the most buzz. The hard part will be engineering the deal. As noted, Harden has little leverage, and the Rockets are unlikely to see much urgency in making a move.

Report: James Harden wants trade to Nets or 76ers

James Harden

Two teams continue to come up frequently when it comes to a potential James Harden trade.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Harden only wants to play for a contender. The belief is that he would prefer to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers or Brooklyn Nets.

Charania does note that the Rockets would be comfortable keeping Harden or Westbrook into the season, even if both are unhappy.

A move to the Sixers would reunite Harden with general manager Daryl Morey, who brought him to Houston. Moving to the Nets would reunite him with former coach Mike D’Antoni, who is an assistant there. The Nets have been mentioned previously as a possible landing spot.

As one would expect, both teams already have stars. It’s not clear how the Nets would run an offense with Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant, though. The Sixers also have a ball-dominant player in Ben Simmons, but don’t quite have a guard in the mold of Harden.

Report: James Harden open to idea of trade to Nets

James Harden

The Houston Rockets have given no indication that they plan to trade James Harden, but the former NBA MVP reportedly has a destination in mind if that changes.

Harden would have the Brooklyn Nets at the top of his list if the Rockets decide to trade him, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. Harden is said to be open to playing alongside former teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but Houston is telling teams Harden is not available.

Russell Westbrook reportedly wants out of Houston, though he has shot down the talk of him no longer wanting to play with Harden. Harden is apparently still committed to the Rockets.

The Rockets have moved on from both head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey this offseason, so it’s not impossible to envision them blowing things up entirely if they do trade Westbrook.

Harden and Westbrook are both owed more than $130 million over the next three seasons, which could make trading either of them difficult. Trading both would be even tougher.

The Nets would almost certainly be interested in acquiring Harden if there were an opportunity, especially if Durant and Irving are in favor of the idea. Westbrook has been linked to a couple of teams already, though it doesn’t sound like there is a huge market for him.

Russell Westbrook responds to report about issues with James Harden

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has reportedly decided he no longer wants to play for the Houston Rockets, and there are rumblings that James Harden has a lot to do with that. Westbrook insists at least part of that is not true.

Westbrook, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Thursday, responded to a report from Stephen A. Smith that claims he and Harden do not want to play with each other anymore. Westbrook wrote on Instagram that the report is “completely fabricated.”

Many were quick to point out that Chris Paul was traded to the to the Oklahoma City Thunder last year not long after reports surfaced that he was butting heads with Harden. Paul denied that there was a rift in an Instagram comment that was very similar to the one Westbrook made on Thursday. You can see what CP3 wrote here.

It’s not just Stephen A. Smith who thinks Westbrook no longer wants to play with Harden. Westbrook supposedly wants a trade so he can go back to having a role like the one he had in Oklahoma City, and he is not going to get that playing alongside Harden. It probably isn’t a coincidence that Harden wants to stay in Houston.

The way Harden wished Westbrook a happy birthday on Thursday also seemed to indicate things are fine between the two superstars.

So what could be happening? Assuming Westbrook and Harden actually do not want to play together anymore, that does not mean the issues between them are personal. They may simply feel that their games don’t mesh, which makes sense considering how ball-dominant they both are.

NBA stars typically get their way when they decide they want a trade. However, trading Westbrook may prove to be difficult for Houston.

James Harden wishes Russell Westbrook happy birthday amid trade rumors

James Harden

Any of the issues taking place behind the scenes between Houston Rockets teammates James Harden and Russell Westbrook aren’t spilling out into the open just yet.

On Thursday, Westbrook’s 32nd birthday, Harden posted a social media message to his teammate wishing him well. There was no hint of any drama, either.

It’s worth noting this is coming from Harden’s side. He seems perfectly content playing alongside Westbrook in Houston. He’s been there longer and is seen as being the star attraction.

Reports have indicated Westbrook does not feel the same way. That’s why, right now, any communication between the two is going to be put under a microscope as the rumors intensify. We’ll see if Westbrook responds or not, but for now, it’s tough to see where things stand beyond what we’ve heard.

James Harden reportedly committed to Rockets

James Harden

Russell Westbrook may want out of Houston, but the Rockets’ franchise star is still committed to the team.

James Harden is said to be “locked in” for next season and committed to the Rockets, The Athletic reported on Wednesday.

The report comes after we learned Westbrook wants out after spending just one season with the Rockets.

Harden has been with the Rockets for eight seasons and is the face of the franchise. He has been an All-Star in every season since he’s been with them and won the last three scoring titles.

The Rockets let coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey go, which left Harden and Westbrook in a wait-and-see mode. But now it seems like the paths forward for both players are diverging.

Harden is under contract for three more seasons at over $132 million. He is 31 but still should have several good seasons left in him. There have already been some rumors about his former general manager trying to acquire him.

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

Report: James Harden, Russell Westbrook concerned about direction of Rockets

James Harden

The Houston Rockets have made some major changes this offseason by parting ways with head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey. Fans are concerned about what that means for the future of the team, and those concerns are apparently shared by Houston’s two biggest stars.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook have both expressed concern over the direction of the Rockets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon report. The two superstars have have had conversations with both their representatives and Rockets officials about their worries that Houston’s championship window could be closing. The talks have reportedly left the Rockets wondering if Harden and Westbrook are committed to the team going forward.

Harden still has three years and $131.5 million remaining on his contract, including a $46.9 million player option for 2022-23. Westbrook is owed the same amount over the next three seasons with a $46.7 million player option for 2022-23.

For what it’s worth, both Harden and Westbrook were consulted in Houston’s coaching search and signed off on the Stephen Silas hire, according to ESPN. There were rumblings that they were not sold on Jeff Van Gundy, who was a finalist for the job. Harden has also been weighing in on potential personnel moves the Rockets can make.

It makes sense that Harden and Westbrook have concerns. Despite the team’s disappointing finish this season, D’Antoni and Morey are considered two of the best in the NBA at what they do. Harden and Westbrook are both in their 30s, so they understandably want to win now.

While both Harden and Westbrook are under contract for at least two more seasons, NBA stars force trades on an almost annual basis. One contending team is said to be interested in Westbrook, and there would be plenty of suitors if the Rockets decided to trade either star. If Houston gets off to a rough start next season, that will be something to watch.