Is Tilman Fertitta making the right call by keeping the Rockets core?

Houston Rockets James Harden Tilman Fertitta Russell Westbrook (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden Tilman Fertitta Russell Westbrook (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta expressed support for James Harden and Russell Westbrook, stating that the Rockets would be best suited to simply run it back.

It’s been announced that the Houston Rockets will not trade Russell Westbrook or James Harden, as Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta believes the team’s championship window remains wide open. Fertitta’s confirmation means the trade rumors for the high-scoring duo of Harden and Westbrook should be nonexistent, for now.

The trade speculation began after the Rockets’ season ended against the Los Angeles Lakers, who dismantled the Rockets within five games, en route to winning the 2020 NBA championship. Newly promoted Rockets GM Rafael Stone has several things to take care of this offseason, including identifying a new head coach and a prominent big man, which made the idea of trading Westbrook or Harden seem logical.

As the Rockets’ front office brought in coaching hopefuls such as Jeff Van Gundy and Tyronn Lue, both coaches advocated for Westbrook and Harden. Although Lue opted to accept a different coaching position, it became clear that keeping Harden and Westbrook makes the Houston Rockets an attractive site for prominent coaches.

Is Fertitta right about keeping the Houston Rockets’ core?

For this reason Fertitta expressed optimism about Harden and Westbrook, in spite of the exhilarating season they had together.

“There is no reason to blow up your roster. This is still our window, the next couple of years. James and Russell are in their early 30s. We’re not blowing up anything. We plan on contending. We’re going to do whatever we had to do to win.”

The 31-year-old Westbrook was mostly blamed after the Rockets’ season-ending series defeat against the Los Angeles Lakers, as he struggled with his shooting and turnovers. Harden shouldn’t be without blame either, as has been with the Rockets for eight years and hasn’t won a title.

After being with the Rockets for so long, it seemed like Harden’s time was up, and especially when Daryl Morey stepped down as GM. Harden and Westbrook’s trade value are both extremely high, so it made sense to rebuild, and especially with Westbrook and Harden under contract for just two more years.

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Hopefully, Fertitta is right about Harden and Westbrook’s championship window, as that would keep the Rockets fanbase intact.