Rockets Report: Raptors, Nuggets emerge as suitors for James Harden

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of Houston Rockets drives to the basket against Pascal Siakam #43 of Toronto Raptors (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images) /

Harden to Raptors

Windhorst first mentioned the Toronto Raptors as a team that could make a run for The 2017-18 MVP, as he stated that Toronto isn’t quite good enough to be considered a contender this season. Windhorst also added the Raptors could have the assets to compile a package similar to what Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone is seeking.

“They’re in the same boat that they were in two years ago. They have a couple of really good players. But I can’t look at you in the eye and tell you that they’re a favorite to get out of the East or even make the Conference Finals.

They have all of their draft picks going forward and to get James Harden you’re going to need either two or three first-round picks, a current star player, plus a young player or two. They have that package available. How it would be put together would be a matter of negotiations but I think a team like the Raptors would absolutely be a team that would look at this.”

Any team that Harden doesn’t have on his list would be taking a gamble by sending the massive haul that would be required to pry Harden from Houston, as he could simply bail after the 2021-22 season, which would be a short window for said team to win a title with Harden under contract. But Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has done this before, with an even shorter window than the two seasons that Harden would be with the franchise, when he traded DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard in 2018-19.

Leonard was in the final year of his deal and the Raptors won the championship that season, so it’s certainly in the realm of possibility for Toronto to make such a move. Any deal between the Rockets and Raptors would seem to be centered around Pascal Siakam, who at age 26 could be viewed as a franchise cornerstone.

The Rockets would also be able to replenish their stock of draft picks, which has been a focus of Stone.

Next: Harden to Nuggets