The Houston Rockets surely are not ready to cut ties with the cornerstone of their franchise in James Harden right? Well, they may not be ready to say goodbye to the former NBA MVP, but reports circulating are saying that Harden wants out of Houston and wants to reunite with his former Thunder teammate, Kevin Durant, with the Brooklyn Nets.
Monday night, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that James Harden turned down an extension offer from the Houston Rockets that would make him the league’s first $50M a year player, making his message clear that he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Although this may seem like a surprise to Rockets fans, management definitely saw this coming.
After parting ways with head coach Mike D’Antoni this offseason and GM Daryl Morrey stepping down, it seems destined that the Houston Rockets were tearing down everything they have built over the years.
With Russell Westbrook making it clear last week that he wants out of Houston, it seems only fitting that James Harden gets a fresh start as well instead of having to go through the rebuild process with the Rockets. Their championship window, which was slim to begin with, has now closed and even though they were on the cusp of making the NBA Finals in 2018, it seems all for not now as those days are long gone in Houston.
The Rockets started to dismantle their roster Monday night when they traded away Robert Covington to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Trevor Ariza, Portland’s 2020 1st Round Pick (Pick #16), and Portland’s 2021 1st Round Pick with protections on it (most likely Top 10 protected). With two first-round picks coming into Houston and an expiring contract like Ariza’s, Houston has sent a clear message to the league that everyone on their roster is available via trade and they are looking to build their team of the future with draft capital.
James Harden reportedly requesting a trade to the Brooklyn Nets seems crazy enough that it may just work for the Nets. As it stands right now, the Nets current salaries equate to about $140M, about $31M over the projected 2020-21 NBA Salary cap of $109.1M, but the Nets have players on their roster they can move to make up for the $41.2M 2020-21 salary of James Harden that could potentially be coming in.
Whether the Nets pull it off or not, they could hypothetically trade for James Harden this offseason if they want to and they can potentially do it with any of these three trade proposals.