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Rockets’ James Harden ‘ain’t playing’ for Jeff Van Gundy, claims former NBA exec

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The Houston Rockets will reportedly consider Jeff Van Gundy to replace Mike D’Antoni, but that might not sit well with superstar shooting guard James Harden.

According to a former NBA executive who spoke to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Harden “ain’t playing” for Van Gundy.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported “there have been rumbles in coaching circles for weeks that the Rockets will strongly consider Jeff Van Gundy” to replace D’Antoni.

“James [Harden] ain’t playing for [Van Gundy],” the former executive said. “It’s a player’s league … [Van Gundy] is going to want to practice every day.”

Van Gundy coached the Rockets from 2003 to 2007. He went 182-146 in the regular season and 7-12 in the playoffs.

James Harden and the Rockets lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2020 playoffs in five games despite winning Game 1. Houston has never reached the NBA Finals in the Harden era, which began in 2012.

It’s going to be very interesting to see who the Rockets interview and eventually hire as their new head coach. Harden is the face of the organization, so if he doesn’t want to play for Van Gundy and informs owner Tilman Fertitta and general manager Daryl Morey how he’s feeling, odds are Houston won’t pursue a reunion with Van Gundy and will look somewhere else — although the coaching field is small and unspectacular.

Harden finished the 2019-20 regular season with averages of 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game He also shot 44.4 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from beyond the arc and 86.5 percent from the free-throw line.