The fact that James Harden wants out of the Houston Rockets does not necessarily mean that the Rockets front office is moving heaven and earth to make sure that a trade somehow pushes through. The Philadelphia 76ers have emerged as a potential destination for Harden, but as it turns out, the Rockets appear to be pricing themselves out of any potential deal.
According to reports, Houston is demanding an seemingly unreasonable package from Philly in exchange for Harden (h/t NBA insider Yaron Weitzman):
Re: Sixers-Harden negotiations: I'm told the Rockets have asked the Sixers for 3 first round picks in addition to Ben Simmons. As many others have reported, the Sixers so far have been unwilling to include Simmons in any proposals.
— Yaron Weitzman (@YaronWeitzman) December 14, 2020
While Philadelphia have reportedly considered trading for Harden, it is clear that they do not want to break up their core in order to land the former MVP. The Sixers want to form a Big 3 of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Harden, so giving up either Embiid or Simmons remains to be out of the question for them.
As for the Rockets, they appear to be comfortable in playing hard ball at this point. They understand that Harden no longer wants to be part of the squad, but as it seems, they might just be willing to hold him against his will in Houston. After all, the eight-time All-Star is still under contract with the Rockets, and if push comes to shove, Houston could always opt to keep him hostage.
It’s getting messier and messier with the Rockets as the days go by, and while the team’s front office seem unwilling to budge, it would not be surprising if Harden gets moved sooner rather than later. Something’s just got to give at this point.