With the Houston Rockets doing their best to squash trade rumors regarding James Harden, ESPN’s Amin Elhassan says he’s heard the Rockets will ultimately deal Harden.
The Houston Rockets found themselves in a bit of a quandary this offseason, as they faced changes in the front office and the head coach position, with a hyper-shortened amount of time to identify replacements for both. The Rockets also faced tough roster decisions, which was also challenging as they faced a hard cap and a restricted amount of cap space to add players.
Although those were difficult enough decisions, they paled in comparison to the subsequent ones involving superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Harden reportedly made a trade request, with the specific caveat being to the Brooklyn Nets, where he wanted to join the newly formed duo of Kyrie Irving and Harden’s former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant.
The Nets were rumored to have been willing to part with Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, and Jarrett Allen, along with draft capital, which the Rockets rejected, and rightfully so, as the Rockets figure to be able to yield better packages than what the Nets are offering for Harden, who is one of the greatest scorers the league has ever seen.
Although Rockets general manager Rafael Stone wasn’t tempted by Brooklyn’s offer, the speculation will continue to mount throughout the season, as many anticipate the Rockets will still deal the five-time MVP finalist. Case in point, ESPN analyst and Sirius XM analyst Amin Elhassan, who discussed the situation on Sirius XM’s NBA radio.
“I’ve heard similar things. I’ve honestly heard similar things about Harden specifically. Not perhaps being a Houston Rocket for much longer. I think Houston has an opportunity, at least on the Harden side of things, to get tremendous value back.
This is a guy who’s been top five in MVP voting for five consecutive years pretty much. You’re going to get value for him. If you don’t, your front office might be on the chopping block.”
NBA insider says Houston Rockets will trade James Harden
The Rockets have remained firm on their plans of keeping Harden, as newly promoted general manager Rafael Stone made it clear during his introductory press conference that the franchise believes Harden’s presence gives them an opportunity to contend for a title.
The Rockets instead opted to build a contender around Harden, as they added budding star forward Christian Wood, in addition to former All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins. The Rockets don’t have to make a move anytime soon regarding Harden, as he’s under contract for technically three more years, although he has a player option at the end of the 2021-22 season.
But in spite of Harden’s contractual status, we shouldn’t expect the speculation and reports to end anytime soon.