RUMOR: Rockets’ stance on trading James Harden after Russell Westbrook trade
Now that the Houston Rockets have officially pulled the trigger on the Russell Westbrook trade, they can now turn their attention to a more pressing matter at hand. At this point, there is still a huge elephant in the room. This comes in the form of James Harden, who reportedly also wanted/wants out of Houston.
There’s no denying at this point that Harden has — at the very least — considered parting ways with the Rockets. He has been linked to a blockbuster move to the Brooklyn Nets to join former teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. According to reports, however, Houston’s front office believes that the developments surrounding the Westbrook trade will not have a significant effect on Harden’s relationship with the franchise.
This via ESPN’s Tim McMahon:
With two guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract, Harden can’t just bully his way to his desired destination of Brooklyn. The Rockets have made it clear that they’d require a king’s ransom — starting with a young franchise cornerstone and a massive picks package, per sources — in any potential deal for Harden.
As the face of the franchise, Harden earned the right to have heavy influence on the Rockets’ past moves to pair him with superstars — first Dwight Howard, then Chris Paul and finally Westbrook. However, Harden won’t enjoy the same power in negotiations for him to pack his bags and play with stars elsewhere — not when time is on the Rockets’ side.
It looks like there’s going to be a shift in power within the Rockets organization. Unfortunately for Harden, this might not work in his favor.
It’s highly likely that Harden starts the season in Houston, and with the franchise beefing up their squad for the upcoming season, this team is still considered as a real threat in the West. Then again, it would not be a complete shock if Harden ends up jumping ship midway through the campaign.