1. Any team Harden goes to will be gutted in a trade
When any superstar player is traded, the team trading him expects a massive haul back in return. The Houston Rockets are no different when it comes to Harden.
Reports have suggested the Rockets want back a star-level player and multiple draft picks. That means, for instance, if Harden goes to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Rockets want Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons back in the trade, in addition to multiple draft picks and likely a couple of the 76ers younger prospects.
This means the team will have less around him than the team he is already on. Of course, if he goes to a team like the Brooklyn Nets without the Nets having to give up Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, that team would be better than the Rockets.
But it has been established that the Rockets aren’t taking back role players and bench warmers. The Rockets have added length, more defensive-minded players, and players who have more than one skill on the court. This roster is Harden’s best chance to win a ring this year.
Even though Harden hasn’t publicly said he wants to be traded, the writing is on the wall (no pun intended). We may not know all the reasons why Harden wants out. It may be more than just the roster, but if his ultimate goal is to win a championship, the saying “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” definitely applies here.
The Harden era doesn’t have to end now for the Rockets, and if he wants to contend for a title, his best chance to do that remains in Houston.