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James Harden-to-Heat trade talks facing Duncan Robinson roadblock

Duncan Robinson, James Harden, Heat, Rockets

The NBA rumor mill is churning just in time for the start of the 2020-21 regular season with current Houston Rockets guard James Harden in the thick of ongoing discussions throughout the league. With Harden already being linked to the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat in recent weeks, the defending Eastern Conference champions might just be emerging as a legitimate destination for the Rockets’ All-Star guard — though current Heat guard Duncan Robinson may be getting in the way of getting this deal done.

According to a Thursday evening report from Ethan J. Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports Network, talks between the Rockets and Heat might have already hit a snag due to the inclusion — or lack thereof — of the aformentioned Robinson, who has become a key piece of the puzzle for the Heat.

“We can report at Five Reasons Sports — from multiple league sources — that the inclusion of Duncan Robinson is a major sticking point in the [Heat’s] pursuit of Rockets guard James Harden,” Skolnick wrote on Thursday evening.

With the Rockets already being pretty aggressive as a result of the abbreviated 2020-21 NBA offseason, Houston previously swapped veteran point guards with the Washington Wizards in the biggest deal of the league’s brief hiatus. With oft-injured point guard John Wall, who has finally regained his health, heading to Houston, the Rockets were forced to ship All-Star signal caller Russell Westbrook to our nation’s capital after just one season as a member of the Western Conference franchise.

The NBA season starts on Tuesday, Dec. 22, a move designed to achieve multiple goals for the Heat, Rockets, and all other teams in the league. The early start — roughly two months after the end of the 2020 NBA Finals — is meant to collect Christmas Day television money and a significant amount of TV revenue for the season.

Another goal for the league — even though the Heat might lament the brutally short offseason — is to fit in the regular season before the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.