As of Friday morning, here's where the Houston Rockets are on the James Harden trade front.
On Thursday evening, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported that the Rockets were expanding discussions with possible trade partners beyond Harden's preferred destinations of the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. Woj and Shelburne indicated that multiple teams from both conferences had contacted Rockets GM Rafael Stone to express interest in acquiring Harden.
The report noted that Philly had made All-Star Ben Simmons available in trade packages, though Sixers president (and former Rockets GM) Daryl Morey flatly denied those reports.
Wojnarowski and Shelburne also noted that because the Rockets are not particularly enticed by any package of talent the Nets could send in return — unless Kyrie Irving is involved, presumably — a third team would likely need to be included in order to facilitate a deal for the disgruntled 2018 MVP.
On ESPN's “Get Up!” on Friday, Wojnarowski provided a few more details, including that the Rockets would like to deal Harden “sooner than later,” and that a three-team transaction remains a possible option:
.@wojespn said that the Rockets are hoping to get a deal done for Harden "sooner than later," and that Houston is looking into a three-team trade scenario to make sure they get the player they want. pic.twitter.com/FkIQiFnW1b
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) December 18, 2020
Harden, 31, has two years left on his deal plus a player option, but teams around the league have reportedly become increasingly open-minded about the prospect of acquiring Harden without assurances that he would stick around for the long haul.
The Rockets begin their season on Dec. 23, in a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Toyota Center. Unless a blockbuster deal comes together quickly, Harden will probably begin the season as a member of the Rockets.
We'll see how long that lasts.