There have been many reports of tension between the former Houston Rockets’ backcourt of Chris Paul and James Harden, but the latest reports of Harden wanting the Rockets to trade away CP3 are hard to believe.
Ever since James Harden was traded away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets‘ General Manager Daryl Morey has made it a point of emphasis to surround Harden with another superstar player. This makes sense because part of the reason Harden’s Thunder teams were contenders was because of the fact that they boasted a trio of Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, which prevented opposing teams from keying in on just one or the other.
The Rockets first tried assembling a tandem of their own following the 2012-13 season when they added three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. Although the Rockets didn’t win a championship over the course of the three years in which D12 was on the roster, they made it to the Western Conference Finals in the 2014-15 season. Ultimately, the Rockets fell at the hands of the Golden State Warriors within five games, as they were upended 4-1.
Howard would later leave in the offseason following the 2015-16 season, which was also a disappointing year for the Rockets considering their Western Conference Finals appearance in the previous season. During Howard’s final year in Houston, the Rockets limped into the playoffs with a .500 record of 41-41 and were defeated in the first round by the Warriors yet again.
Howard’s departure left Harden as the Rockets’ only star player in the 2016-17 season, yet the Rockets surprised many as they finished with the third seed in the Western Conference and went 55-27. The Rockets made it to the Western Conference Semifinals but were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in six games.
The Rockets’ Game 6 appearance was surely one to forget, as they were wiped off their home floor by a score of 114-75. Due to how poorly the Rockets played, there were surely going to be changes made in the offseason, as Daryl Morey was not going to let Harden’s prime go to waste.
The Rockets would later land future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul, which immediately drew questions of how a Harden/CP3 pairing would work. The results were an instant success, as the Rockets finished the 2017-18 season with a record of 65-17, which was a franchise record and also the best record in the NBA that season.
As Rockets fans know all too well, the team would eventually lose CP3 to a hamstring injury which kept him sidelined for the final two games of the Western Conference Finals, which proved to be costly. The Rockets would fall to the Dubs yet again but the series left Rockets’ fans feeling encouraged about the Rockets’ chances of finally knocking off the Warriors the following season, as long as CP3 could stay healthy.
Next: The 2018-19 Season