Rumor: Rockets have given up convincing James Harden to stay, determined to only trade him for massive package
Tim MacMahon, who covers the Rockets for ESPN, says Houston understands it won’t be able to convince Harden to change his mind on his trade request.
However, the franchise doesn’t feel obligated to trade the 2018 MVP to where he wants to go and wants a massive package in return for Harden, one of the greatest scorers in NBA history.
“The sense I get from the Rockets is that their ambition, their goal, their hope is no longer about salvaging the relationship with James Harden and kind of getting him on board,” MacMahon said on the Brian Windhorst Podcast, via Real GM.
“There’s a realization, you know, his mind is made up. He wants out and there is a determination to say ‘Okay, we get it. This happens in the NBA.’ But just because James Harden wants out doesn’t mean he gets to dictate where and for what [he’s traded].
Harden reportedly wants to get traded to the Nets, where his friends Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are.
It would obviously make sense for the Rockets to trade Harden to an Eastern Conference team so they don’t have to deal with him in the West. Besides the Nets, Harden has been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Rockets are also dealing with Russell Westbrook’s trade request. Houston could lose two former MVPs in the same offseason, which is mind-boggling when you think about it.
During the 2019-20 season, Harden averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game for the Rockets, who lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2020 playoffs in five games.