The Houston Rockets acquired veteran guard Lou Williams before last month’s trade deadline, but he and James Harden reportedly had words about it beforehand.
James Harden has been a crucial part of the Houston Rockets’ recruiting process in the past year or so. Over the summer, he met with Kevin Durant in an unsuccessful attempt to bring the superstar to Houston. Later, he sat in on meetings with Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson, both of whom signed with the Rockets in order to play with the Beard.
Between all his meetings this past offseason, Harden also signed a contract extension to keep him in Houston through 2020. Clearly, he is invested with the Rockets and plans to win with the team.
It became apparent in the first half of this season that, while the Rockets were outplaying every expectation, there were still holes to fill. The Beard thought the team could use another playmaker in the second group, and went to recruiting. According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Harden called Lou Williams two weeks before the trade deadline to gauge his interest in playing for Mike D’Antoni.
"“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”"
…and the rest was history. Daryl Morey sent Corey Brewer and a draft pick to the Lakers for Williams just before the trade deadline. In 14 games since the trade, Sweet Lou has averaged 14 points per game off the bench. He’s been the perfect spark plug for the Rockets, pouring in as many as 30 points when necessary.
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The fact that James Harden helped make the trade happen is encouraging for a couple of reasons. The first is that it shows he pays attention to what’s going on around the league. It’ll do nothing but help the Rockets for their best player to be aware of who in the league could help them out.
The second reason is that it shows a willingness on Harden’s part to put in work to make good things happen. Lou said in Charania’s piece that he had been on the wrong end of broken promises in the past. When the Beard told him that he’d play in Houston, he meant it.
With Lou on board, the Houston Rockets are as dangerous as anybody in the playoffs. They’ll likely play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, who don’t have the kind of firepower to keep up. Tomorrow night, they’ll take on the Thunder in the teams’ last regular season meeting. Look for Harden and Lou to do their thing, using their craftiness to fill up the stat sheet.
Stay tuned to Space City Scoop for more analysis, news, and opinions on the Houston Rockets. We’ll keep you on top of things as the playoffs draw nearer.