1. It’s easier to build around Harden than to replace him
Before Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets the team was in a constant loop of mediocrity, as they weren’t good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to be at the top of the draft.
This went on for several years until the Rockets traded for Harden. If the Rockets were to trade Harden for draft picks and lower level players, it could easily place them back at the same level of mediocrity for years to come.
Harden has never missed the playoffs and has finished within the top-three of the MVP award for several years since coming to the Rockets. With minimum contracts and veteran players more being cut at unprecedented levels, it’s easy to find great value by signing multiple players who started on other teams earlier in the season.
Exhibit A is Jeff Green, who no one wanted, but turned out to be one of the most important players for the Houston Rockets after being signed midseason. This is yet another reason why trading a MVP and once-in-a-generation player is a huge mistake.
It’s simply better to continue to build around players like Harden, as opposed to trading him and rebuilding. 90 percent of the GM’s in the league spend every year looking for a player like Harden, who can change the entire future of an organization, as he is a top-five player and a guaranteed All-Star annually.
Some teams never find that type of player, and the Rockets have one in Harden, who is still in his prime. For that reason, the Rockets should do whatever they can to win with a marquee player such as Harden, because we may never find another player like him.