While James Harden recently reported to Houston Rockets training camp and even saw some action in his first preseason game on Tuesday, he still wants a trade. This situation will hang over the Rockets until it’s resolved.
DeMarcus Cousins would certainly enjoy the opportunity to continue playing with Harden, but he isn’t in the business of convincing the scoring champion to stay in Houston, Instead, Boogie is just leaving The Beard alone and letting him make his own decisions:
DeMarcus Cousins on if he's tried to recruit James Harden: "At the end of the day, this is a business. You can only respect a guy for doing whatever he feel is best for him, his personal life, and his career. So no, honestly, I haven’t."
— Salman Ali (@SalmanAliNBA) December 16, 2020
The Rockets basically had to put out an NBA-style APB in regards to Harden’s whereabouts as training camp got underway. While newcomer John Wall tried to smooth things over by stating he had talked to Harden and reaffirmed his desire to remain in Houston, it wasn’t made apparent by his actions.
Harden hasn’t specifically said anything about his trade demand himself, but it’s clear enough that he still wants out and it will be difficult to change that. While his top destinations remain the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, he has reportedly since expanded his list to include the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks.
The Rockets have made a bunch of changes this year, with Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey leaving the franchise and Russell Westbrook getting traded for John Wall after their own trade requests. Wall and Cousins have both looked good so far in preseason, but this hasn’t swayed Harden’s opinion.
Now that he has reported to the Rockets, Harden is committed to taking the floor in a professional manner while he’s still on the team. He recorded 12 points and four assists against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. Houston has one more preseason game against the Spurs before starting the regular season next Wednesday.
For now, it seems as if Harden will be on the roster.