On Monday, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith addressed the season-long reports regarding the Houston Rockets’ interest in reacquiring franchise icon James Harden. The network’s own Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news during ESPN’s Christmas Day slate of NBA action, just ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers match against the New York Knicks.
Smith essentially shut down the rumors, while also offering an explanation as to what may be going on behind the scenes.
“I don’t believe he’s going back. I don’t even believe he wants to go back. He just wants his money.
You’re thinking, if there’s one organization that will give you the money, it’ll be them. I would say to you, ‘That ain’t gonna happen.’
Because after watching him in this postseason, they might be willing to give him a two-year deal, but they ain’t willing to give him a four-year deal, particularly at max dollars. Because of that, I really don’t see that happening.”
There’s a lot to unpack there, let’s start by saying that. We should also point out that Smith hasn’t always been viewed as credible, as much of his analysis and takes can be described as “hot takes” which generally makes one lose credibility because the analysis is usually clickbait.
2 reasons to be excited about Stephen A. Smith's latest James Harden/Rockets news
In other words, most of the time we can’t take Smith seriously (at least we shouldn’t).
And Smith has been wrong on the Rockets’ front before, most recently when he stated that Rockets GM Rafael Stone wasn’t “calling the shots”, prompting Patrick Fertitta, the son of Rockets governor Tilman Fertitta to publicly acknowledge was incorrect.
This report feels different though, or at least it should feel different for Rockets fans, in a good way. I’d even go so far as to say that this report should spark optimism and encouragement from Rockets fans into the brainpower and decision-makers in the franchise, for several reasons.
Let’s dive into those reasons.