Due to his off court antics, James Harden should be traded by the Houston Rockets for the best package available before the NBA season begins.
With all the moves the new general manager of the Houston Rockets Rafael Stone has made, there’s no sign of a rebuild coming soon. Trading Russell Westbrook for John Wall as well as a future protected first, signing Christian Wood and Boogie Cousins are all signs of Houston wanting to stay in the playoff scene.
But, Rockets superstar James Harden has shown a careless act of wanting to run it back.
It’s not a mystery to anyone that Harden has requested a trade from Houston, preferably to the Brooklyn Nets to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately for The Beard, both sides haven’t agreed on a deal. As training camp approached, Harden missed the first team practice as well as an individual practice.
Instead, he was celebrating Atlanta rapper Lil Baby’s birthday in Atlanta. The following day, he was seen in a strip club in Las Vegas rather than attending his individual practice.
After all of that, Harden made it known that he wouldn’t mind being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and other contending teams.
On Tuesday December 8th, Harden arrived in Houston, to get tested at the Toyota Center so he can be cleared for team activities. Although The Beard finally showed up, the Houston Rockets can not totally disregard everything that happened the past couple of days.
Harden has been sending mixed signals throughout the league. Telling people he wants out of Houston, but telling new teammate John Wall that he is all in with Houston. The Rockets have a lot going on right now and the last thing they need is for their disgruntled superstar to not be all in with H-Town.
It’s time for Stone to pull the trigger on a blockbuster Harden trade, but with a little twist. Trade Harden for the best deal possible from any team, rather than Hardens short list.
Why the Houston Rockets must trade James Harden immediately
Part of the reason why the Rockets should trade James to whatever team gives the best package is due in part to the way he handled himself this past week. Harden showcased a lack of professionalism and zero leadership for a team that has tried their hardest to build championship caliber teams around him for the past eight years.
Now, if he would’ve handled this in a professional manner, the Rockets should consider giving their superstar what he wants. Now, its clear the NBA is a players league, but there should be some instances where it shouldn’t be.
Teams would be afraid to gamble on a Harden trade because of the two remaining years on his contract. The fear of gambling a team’s future for a possible two-year rental isn’t a risk that a lot of teams would make.
Not every team could pull off what the Toronto Raptors did just two years ago with the Kawhi Leonard for Demar DeRozan trade. But, Stone should still try to swing for the fences.
The best trade suitor is the 76ers, but Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta refuses to trade Harden to former Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who is currently with Philly. Fertitta’s pettiness and selfishness is going to show he cares about his own ego more than the Rockets future.
The Nets’ best possible package would include Caris Levert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, and several draft picks and swaps. Although the picks are interesting, Levert, Dinwiddie and Allen are good young players, but not at the caliber a team should get in return for a top-five player in the league.
If the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to get the LA Clippers’ entire future and a rising star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for a star caliber player in Paul George, the Houston Rockets should be able to get the same for their superstar. This is no disrespect to Paul George, but he just isn’t on Harden’s level.
This is where other teams that are willing to gamble on their future for the present comes into play. Teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans and Indiana Pacers are some teams that should be considered.
The Hawks have tons of young talent like Cam Reddish, Deandre Hunter, John Collins, Onyeka Okongwu and Kevin Huerter that the Rockets could be interested in acquiring to go along with several future first-rounders.
James Harden could help put the reigning Eastern Conference champs over the hump. Harden to Miami for Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, a contract to match and several future first-rounders and swaps could be the best possible deal.
The Denver Nuggets reached the Western Conference Finals last year when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. The young team could use someone of James Harden’s caliber.
The trio of Harden, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic would make the Nuggets favorites in the West. The Rockets should look to acquire Michael Porter Jr, Bol Bol, Gary Harris and future first rounders and swaps.
The Sacramento Kings aren’t a desirable destination for NBA superstars, but the Kings have ton of young talent that can catch the Rockets’ attention. A package of DeAaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III and tons of future picks and swaps would seem like a good deal.
The New Orleans Pelicans have tons of young talent and future first rounders. If Harden is added to this core, they would easily be a playoff team and could make noise. A package of Lonzo Ball, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Brandon Ingram and future draft picks and swaps.
Lastly, The Indiana Pacers could offer Malcom Brogdon, Myles Turner, Cassius Stanley and future first rounders and swaps for James Harden’s services.
The point here is that there is a possibility that teams are willing to follow the Raptors’ footsteps and take a gamble. It’s up to Rafael Stone and crew to look for the right suitors.
Don’t trade James Harden to the Nets when most likely, their package is weaker than all of the packages above, just because he wants to go there. It’s safe to say, Harden screwed Harden.
Fertitta and Stone need to trade the Beard before its too late and if that means trade him to a team that isn’t on his list for the best package in return, then so be it.