In the current climate in sports, it’s become common to see teams trade franchise greats. Here’s why you shouldn’t expect the Houston Rockets to ever trade James Harden.
Houston Rockets superstar James Harden has already entrenched himself as the second-best player in franchise history, behind only Hakeem Olajuwon. Harden hasn’t been able to lead the Rockets to a championship, which is the only reason he’d rank behind The Dream, at this point.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is known to have a quick trigger as it pertains to sending players packing, which has made him one of the best GM’s in the league. But would Morey ever trade Harden?
It’s a difficult question to answer, because Morey wasn’t at the helm at the time the Rockets had Olajuwon, who ultimately retired as a member of the Toronto Raptors (sorry for reminding you). But Harden has been the sole reason the Rockets have been relevant since his arrival in 2012, as his efforts have lifted the Rockets into the postseason in each of his seasons in Houston.
On top of that, Harden has been the reason the Rockets have been able to reel in other superstars, such as Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook. Although Howard and CP3’s Rockets’ exits were unceremonious at best, the reason they were here in the first place is because they wanted to play alongside Harden.
One thing that’s been obvious as it pertains to trading superstars is that you never get equal value in return, and we know Morey isn’t fond of stockpiling draft picks. So what would the Rockets get in return for Harden that would make it worth it?
On top of that, Harden’s game isn’t necessarily dependent on sheer athleticism, so he could very well be a valuable contributor well into his mid-late 30’s. But his value wouldn’t necessarily be high at that point in his career, so what would the Rockets get in return for him at that point? And what about the PR nightmare that would ensue if the Rockets were to send him packing at that point after 10+ years of service with the Rockets?
It seems like Harden will end up going out like Yao Ming, who ultimately retired as a member of the Rockets. During Harden’s eight years in Houston, the Rockets have had many changes, which includes coaches, stars, and surrounding casts. The one thing that has been the same as it pertains to the Houston Rockets’ roster has been The Beard, in spite of his stock having been astronomically high.
The Rockets have avoided dealing Harden despite Harden having significant trade value, as Morey values Harden more than he’s ever valued any other Rockets player. For this reason, don’t expect Harden to ever get traded away from the Rockets, which is a good thing for Rockets fans.