The Houston Rockets found themselves in a quandary in the 2020 offseason, as it pertained to their franchise player James Harden. The Rockets were coming off consecutive second-round postseason exits, despite surrounding Harden with Hall of Fame-caliber co-stars time and time again.
Harden had been instrumental in the acquisitions of his prior star running mates and was equally responsible for the departures. All in all, one thing remained constant: the Rockets couldn't get over the hurdle with Harden, for one reason or another.
Harden finally decided to try his hand at departing himself. The Rockets did all they could to try and change his mind, including offering him a multi-year deal, which he wasn't interested in.
Harden's business partner, Daryl Morey, decided he'd rather leave the franchise altogether than trade the 2017-18 MVP and hit the reset button with the Rockets.
Unable to convince Harden to stay, the Rockets decided that they were willing to be uncomfortable as training camp was set to take place.
When it came time for training camp, Harden launched a stare-down with the Rockets' brass, as he prioritized time with trap artist Lil' Baby over time with his teammates. Harden promised then-coach Stephen Silas that he'd be in town for a private workout- a promise he failed to keep.
Eventually, Harden won the war of discomfort and was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, in a deal that many criticized the Rockets for, as it lacked a true franchise cornerstone.
Morey didn't have to deal with any of that, as he left Rafael Stone in charge of cleaning up his mess, while he landed with the Philadelphia 76ers, who were formidable contenders in the Eastern Conference.
But eventually we all have to face the music and encounter our fate head-on.
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For Morey, the karma gods came calling three years later and the situation is eerily similar. Harden, who Morey traded for, wants out of Philadelphia after two consecutive seasons that ended in second-round playoff defeats.
The Sixers have offered Harden a multi-year deal, he's made it known that he doesn't intend to show up for training camp, and the Sixers have declared that they are willing to get......uncomfortable.
There's that word again.
Morey has tried talking Harden into staying in the City of Brotherly Love and has held out hope that the situation can be salvaged.
Eventually, Morey will also have to deal Harden to his desired destination for a less-than-subpar deal that will draw criticism from the masses.
Just like the Rockets.
Only this time Morey won't be able to use his kids' school situation as a way to duck the smoke, like last time, as Morey stated that he was leaving the Rockets because his kids had a "gap year" from school due to COVID-19 and he wanted to spend time with them.
There will be no running from the grind for the Sixers or Morey. And if they would've paid attention three years ago, they wouldn't be in this situation today.