James Harden is a star in today’s NBA and can do things on the court that not many others can. With that being said, Harden grew tired of the Houston Rockets organization as The Beard was dying for a run at an NBA title. With that, the Rockets ended up dealing Harden in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets, and the rest is history.
The Nets have Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving, marking this trio as one of the best in the history of the NBA– at least on paper. So, how exactly did Harden end up requesting a trade from Houston?
James Harden & the Ugly Departure from Houston
Harden and the Rockets lost in an ugly five-game series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite the loss, Harden backed then-Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and said he would love for him to return to Houston. Shortly after, D’Antoni left and headed for the Brooklyn Nets.
October 15, 2020- Daryl Morey steps down as Rockets general manager. That’s when the fire-sale began.
The rumors of James Harden and Russell Westbrook being traded circulated, although they were then shut down by Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta.
October 20, 2020– Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that neither superstar would go anywhere despite the rumors swirling.
November 4, 2020– The rumors continued, although a report came out that the Rockets would not include James Harden in any trade. The Philadelphia 76ers brought Daryl Morey in as GM and reports surfaced that Morey was interested in acquiring Harden.
November 11, 2020– Both James Harden and Russell Westbrook address their concerns about the direction of the Rockets’ organization.
November 11, 2020– Westbrook had requested a trade out of Houston. However, Harden remains committed to the Rockets despite ongoing trade talks. It was also reported that the star duo had multiple verbal exchanges with one another.
November 16, 2020– James Harden reportedly is trying to force his way out from Houston, with the Brooklyn Nets as Harden’s destination of choice. The Rockets insisted that they would be fine with keeping Harden despite the trade requests.
Then came the report of Harden turning down a huge extension to stay in Houston.
November 17, 2020– James Harden’s reasoning for wanting out of Houston reportedly had something to do with owner Tilman Fertitta’s relationship with Donald Trump.
November 17, 2020– Reports surfaced of James Harden and Russell Westbrook both wanting out of Houston. It was rumored that the Rockets and Brooklyn Nets had a ‘verbal agreement’ on a proposed James Harden deal.
December 1, 2020– The Rockets were in absolutely no rush to deal Harden, despite the rumored verbal agreement with the Nets.
December 3, 2020– Harden did not show up for individual workouts with the Rockets.
December 7, 2020– Harden was apparently in Las Vegas instead of at training camp, creating more turmoil around the team.
December 8, 2020– James Harden reports to Rockets training camp.
December 18, 2020– The Rockets continued to find a deal for Harden despite the guard showing up for camp and practices.
December 25, 2020– James Harden started the season with the Rockets. He then caused more turmoil by hurling a basketball at teammates during practice.
December 31, 2020– Harden teased Rockets fans with some cheeky comments after a victory, perhaps signaling a changing of his mind.
January 12, 2021- Everything seemed to fine in Rockets country. That is, until a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Harden’s postgame comments were the final straw.
"[We're] just not good enough … I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed."
James Harden on the current Rockets 😳pic.twitter.com/F0yY5EipD6
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 13, 2021
January 13, 2021– The team told Harden not to come to practice, saying it’s what was best for the Rockets.
January 13-2021– The Brooklyn Nets acquired James Harden from the Rockets. In return, Houston received a ton of draft compensation and the Nets dealt Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert as part of the deal.
It finally happened after months and months of drama surrounding the Rockets and Harden. Ultimately, the postgame comments after the loss to the Lakers were the final straw.