4 historical Rockets' moments we wish were April Fool's jokes
1. James Harden forces trade out of Houston
After nine seasons of being the Rockets' franchise leader, James Harden issued a trade request. Harden had fallen short of the goal of winning a championship and simply felt it was time to try accomplishing that goal someplace else.
Harden had led the league in scoring in three consecutive seasons and had seen the Rockets finish with a top-four seed in the Western Conference on five different occasions.
Harden and the Rockets appeared destined to get to the NBA Finals, were it not for Chris Paul's fateful injury during the Western Conference Finals in 2018.
The Rockets had underwent a changing of the guard by 2020-21, ushering out Mike D'Antoni and Daryl Morey and bringing in Stephen Silas and Rafael Stone.
Stone made it known multiple times that the franchise's best opportunity to win a championship was with Harden on the roster. The Rockets said they were "willing to get uncomfortable" and wanted to ride it out under the new-look roster, which included new additions Christian Wood and John Wall.
Ultimately after a 3-6 start to the 2020-21 season, the Rockets shipped the franchise-great to the Brooklyn Nets for a treasure trove of draft picks, spanning through 2027, and Victor Oladipo, the latter of which was shipped at the trade deadline for Kelly Olynyk, who bolted during free agency of 2021.
The Rockets have been forced to rebuild ever since the Harden trade, as they underwent a roster tear-down and turned to the NBA Draft to restock their talent pool, which has led to the draft additions of Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr., in addition to Alperen Sengun, and another potential franchise cornerstone, depending on how the draft lottery shapes out on May 16th.