#3 His performance during the regular season
The first factor that will affect Harden’s trade value will be his performance during the season. Before a preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs, James Harden’s physical appearance during warmups quickly became a meme because of how out of shape he looked.
Get ratioed by out of shape James Harden pic.twitter.com/HthseNCUnS
— Chris Cobern (@HoneyBadgerC93) December 25, 2020
NBA fans weren’t shy to hold back from ridiculing Harden especially after being recorded on video at a rapper’s birthday party in Vegas at a strip club instead of reporting to training camp on time. Harden’s late arrival to training camp had left the team feeling out of sync as the team’s new head coach, Stephen Silas, struggled to get his full roster acclimated to his system.
With skepticism and uncertainty regarding Harden’s commitment to the Rockets, there have been questions about how Harden will perform this season. This will have a tremendous impact on his trade value as teams will be hesitant to trade away a promising young talent for an unengaged superstar with two years left on his contract.
With the first week of the 2020-2021 NBA season in the books, the Houston Rockets finished 0-1 when they come up short against the Portland Trailblazers. While it was only one game, the circumstances were quite unique for the Rockets heading into Saturday’s matchup.
The Rockets’ were missing key players due to COVID-19 protocols and only had nine available players for the game. James Harden was one of them and didn’t seem to show any signs of rust as he finished the game with an unbelievable stat-line of 44 points and 17 assists.
Even though the team operated with a skeleton crew Saturday night and lost in a disappointing fashion, it was still quite an impressive first game. Harden looked comfortable directing Stephen Silas’ new offense and was able to torch Portland’s defense all night long.
While it was only one game, Harden hasn’t shown any reason for interested trade partners to be cautious about his offensive potential for their team. His performance throughout the season will be at the center of trade discussions as other contenders look to increase their chances of winning a championship.
Next: Factor No. 2