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#pounditSaturday, December 5, 2020

Articles tagged: James Harden

Report: James Harden will report for training camp on time

James Harden

Despite speculation regarding his whereabouts and his unhappiness with the Houston Rockets, James Harden appears set to arrive in camp on time.

According to Adam Spolane of SportsRadio 610, Harden returned to Houston on Friday and expects to appear at the Rockets’ first day of training camp on Sunday as expected.

The Harden rumor mill had been churning ever since the Rockets traded Russell Westbrook to Washington on Dec. 2. It kicked into overdrive when it was reported that Harden was not present for individual workouts, and was not even in town even though he was technically supposed to be.

Harden is reportedly eager to leave Houston. Every little thing that happens relating to him is going to be cause for speculation. For now, he’s apparently not prepared to rock the boat that much.

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

James Harden was at rapper’s birthday party instead of Rockets workouts

James Harden

James Harden raised some eyebrows this week when it was reported that he was not in Houston with the Rockets for individual workouts. Apparently, he was attending a birthday bash instead.

The Rockets began individual workouts this week and have their first official practice on Sunday. While the workouts are not mandatory, Marc Stein of the New York Times notes that players are supposed to be “in market” and produce three consecutive days of negative COVID-19 tests to enter their team’s practice facility.

According to TMZ, Harden was in Atlanta at some point this week to celebrate rapper Lil Baby’s birthday. Harden gave Lil Baby a Prada bag that was filled with goodies, including a Richard Mille watch and a massive stack of cash.

The timeline is a bit unclear, as it seems Lil Baby has been celebrating his birthday for the better part of a week. All we can say is that Harden was partying with the rapper at some point in recent days and is not yet with his Rockets teammates.

Of course, Harden’s absence has been linked to his reported desire to be traded. New Rockets coach Stephen Silas made it seem like he expects to see Harden in Houston soon, but the situation is one to monitor.

Harden has made eight straight All-Star teams and won three straight scoring titles. The Rockets traded Russell Westbrook earlier in the week in a move that Harden apparently approves of.

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

James Harden has not yet reported for Rockets’ individual workouts

James Harden

The rumors surrounding James Harden’s status in Houston may be heating up even more.

Harden has not yet reported for the Rockets’ individual workouts, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein. However, Stein notes that the team’s first practice is on Sunday, and Rockets coach Stephen Silas is confident Harden will be in attendance.

At this point it would be too early to say this is a sign Harden is forcing his way out of the franchise. However, it’s important to keep in mind all the context surrounding his situation.

Harden reportedly declined a contract extension offer from the Rockets and has reportedly shown interest in a possible trade.

Harden may still be expected to open the season with Houston, but his status is something to monitor.

The 31-year-old guard has made eight straight All-Star teams and won three straight scoring titles.

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

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

Will Rockets trade James Harden next?

James Harden

The Houston Rockets are remaking their team, but they still have James Harden on their roster. The question is: for how long?

The Rockets on Wednesday traded Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a protected future first-round draft pick. Both Westbrook and Harden were said to have issues with the team. There has even been talk about Harden wanting a trade to a few possible teams.

Following the Rockets’ trade of Westbrook, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon checked with a Rockets source about Harden’s status. Houston reportedly is hoping to have Harden on their roster and not deal him before the opener.

The phrase to note there is “before the opener,” which implies Harden could be traded after that point.

Houston has gotten rid of Mike D’Antoni, Daryl Morey, and Westbrook. Does Harden really want to stick around for whatever is next? Maybe not. Keep your eye on this one, because it’s possible, if not likely, that he ends up traded.

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

Odds for where James Harden will begin season are a bit surprising

James Harden

James Harden has asked the Houston Rockets to trade him, but he does not exactly have a ton of leverage to force a move. Despite that, Las Vegas oddsmakers seem to think there is a decent chance the Rockets will grant the eight-time All-Star his wish in the near future.

OddsShark released updated odds on Wednesday for which team Harden will be playing for at the start of the 2020-21 season. The Rockets are still the favorite, but they are even money, meaning if you risked $100 you would win $100 if he remains in Houston. The Brooklyn Nets are a fairly close second at +150.

Why is that surprising? The 2020-21 NBA season is set to tip off in less than three weeks. To this point, there has been no indication that the Rockets are close to trading Harden to Brooklyn or anywhere else. They seem content to wait and try to sort things out with both Harden and Russell Westbrook, who may be more likely to be traded.

Harden and Westbrook are both under contract in Houston for two more seasons. While that could, in theory, increase their trade value, it also means the Rockets don’t have to rush if they intend to move either player. They could simply wait to see how the situation plays out, which is what they are reportedly planning to do at least with Harden.

It seems like a solid bet that Harden will be with the Rockets in three weeks, so the even-money odds are a bit surprising. We might even say they present a great value.

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

Kevin Durant addresses report about him recruiting James Harden

Kevin Durant

James Harden is rumored to be committed to the idea of playing for the Brooklyn Nets this upcoming season, and reports have indicated that he discussed that with Kevin Durant. If the two have spoken about teaming up again, Durant is not willing to admit that publicly.

Durant was asked during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday if he has had conversations with Harden about playing together in Brooklyn. Not surprisingly, he denied it.

“I don’t know where you’re making these stories up that me and James talked about any of this at a workout,” Durant said. “I don’t know where that came from. James is a friend of mine, but I let the front office handle all of that stuff. … I heard particularly that James wanted to come to the Nets, but anybody can make up stories and write a story thinking it’ll get some traction.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarwoski is the one who reported that Harden worked out with Durant and Kyrie Irving in Los Angeles. Woj is arguably the best reporter in the NBA, so it would be a surprise if that were inaccurate. Whether or not they all discussed teaming up together during said workout is another story.

Both Harden and Russell Westbrook are said to have informed the Rockets that they want a trade. A new theory about why both superstars want out of Houston recently surfaced.

You can hear Durant’s full remarks below:

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

James Harden, Russell Westbrook put off by Rockets not hiring Tyronn Lue?

James Harden

The Houston Rockets are a pressure cooker waiting to burst right now, and their head coaching search appears to have contributed to the mess.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported this week that Rockets star duo James Harden and Russell Westbrook wanted Tyronn Lue as the next head coach. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta preferred Jeff Van Gundy however. Former Dallas assistant Stephen Silas ultimately got the job as a compromise. But Vardon notes that Harden and Westbrook still tried to force their way out after the hire.

The two stars have both requested trades from Houston, reportedly due to concerns over the direction of the franchise under Fertitta. The Rockets seem to be in no hurry to oblige those wishes however.

There also may be another reason why Westbrook and Harden want out. But a disagreement over a head coaching hire is a surefire way to alienate your star players, regardless of the team.

Raiders’ ‘James Harden’ audible gets all the jokes, memes

James Harden

The Las Vegas Raiders went viral on Sunday night for their interesting audible names, and one about James Harden led to plenty of jokes.

During a Raiders possession in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback Derek Carr was heard calling a “James Harden” audible. They ended up with a nice run on the play.

The Harden audible led to lots of jokes. One figured the audible meant it’s not a pass, which is modeled after Harden’s isolation game.

Here were some of the other jokes:

Amazingly, that wasn’t the only audible call the Raiders had that went viral. They left Al Michaels confused with another one.

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

76ers the team to watch for James Harden?

James Harden

There have been numerous reports this week that James Harden is focused on trying to force his way to the Brooklyn Nets, but the Philadelphia 76ers may actually be the more likely landing spot.

Harden supposedly wants to play with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but ex-NBA player and current analyst Brian Scalabrine said Tuesday that the talk of Harden going to the Nets is “smoke and mirrors.” Scalabrine, and many others, believe the 76ers are the team to watch.

If he does wind up in Brooklyn, Harden would not be the first NBA superstar to force a trade to the team of his choice. However, he has less leverage than some star players before him. Harden has two years remaining on his contract, which means he would not necessarily be a one-year rental for the team that acquired him. The Rockets can, and should, send Harden to the highest bidder if they decide to move on from him.

Though he is said to be focused on the Nets, Harden is also reportedly open to a trade to Philly. That makes sense now that former Rockets GM Daryl Morey has taken over basketball operations for the 76ers. Morey took out a full-page ad thanking the Rockets after he parted ways with them, and the ad focused a lot on Harden.

One potential roadblock for a Rockets-76ers trade could be that Philadelphia is reportedly unwilling to part with a star player that Houston would likely want.