Latest On James Harden, Rockets, Nets

While a pair of former All-Stars – Chris Paul and Jrue Holiday – were involved in trades agreed upon on Monday, another All-Star guard briefly stole NBA headlines. Word broke that Rockets superstar James Harden had turned down an extension offer that would have tacked on two years and a staggering $103MM to the three years left on his current deal. Harden is said to be “singularly focused” on being dealt to the Nets, per Monday’s reports.

According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, Harden has indicated to the Rockets that he’s not interested in going anywhere except Brooklyn and that he believes the team should make the best deal it can with the Nets, “even if they do not consider it satisfactory.” That’s a bold demand for a player with at least two years left on his contract — even a player of Harden’s caliber.

As Adrian Wojnarowski reiterated this morning during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (video link), the Rockets aren’t yet acting with urgency and feel like they can afford to take their time, given Harden’s contract situation. While the Rockets have been in contact with the Nets, no substantive discussions have taken place between the two teams yet, Woj adds.

Houston also hasn’t engaged with any other teams about Harden, since he appears to be solely interested in Brooklyn and the Rockets don’t want to move him to begin with, says Feigen.

Here’s more on the former MVP:

  • Although the Nets have several intriguing assets, they don’t have one “knockout” piece – such as a young player with superstar potential or a future pick that would land at or near the top of the draft – to entice the Rockets, Wojnarowski notes. Feigen makes a similar point, suggesting that Brooklyn’s inability to offer a player who could be Harden’s “successor” has Houston resisting the idea of making a trade with the Nets.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes a deep dive into the possibility of a trade between the Nets and Rockets and contends that a Brooklyn offer for Harden would probably have to look something like this: Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, some small salary filler, this year’s No. 19 pick, two unprotected or lightly-protected future first-rounders, and two future pick swaps.
  • As of Monday, the Rockets didn’t consider their relationship with Harden broken, according to Feigen, who said talks between the two sides have been “cordial.” The team just hasn’t yet been able to convince him to reconsider his position.
  • The Rockets’ other former MVP, Russell Westbrook, remains a trade candidate as well, but nothing is close on that front. As Feigen explains, Houston hasn’t yet been able to find a deal for Westbrook that would bring a strong enough return to help convince Harden that the team can still contend for a title.
  • The fact that the Rockets surrendered multiple draft picks and pick swaps in last year’s Westbrook acquisition has made the team hesitant to embark upon a rebuild, per Feigen. Houston also still believes it can be a factor in the Western Conference race if both Harden and Westbrook return and the right additions are made.
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66 thoughts on “Latest On James Harden, Rockets, Nets

    • Little_Dunker_45

      Good one! It’s funny because you’re saying he’s like a girl, and girls dont play basketball or have their own professional league or anything…people like you really frustrate me

      • OrienGreene

        He is like a princess brah That’s where the tiara came in. Most women aren’t princesses. I am sure you get that even when frustrated.

        • Little_Dunker_45

          Okay well next time I have a question about the royal court instead of a basketball court I’ll come to our resident princess expert BrianGreene. Wow. Harden is a top player, and he didn’t get to where he is by waiting for things to happen to him. He takes what he wants and usually gets it. That’s why he is a champ, while you seem like a chunk

    • Col. Sanders

      If you want to be so cynical about players then do all of them, not selected ones. Whole league is full of primadonnas. There ain’t no men anymore.

      • Col. Sanders

        Point beeing – how are his demands different from Kawhi’s, AD’s & other superstars? The are no MJ’s in the leagu no more (playing thru badly run front offices & winning without whining, just doing their job).

        • hiflew

          And it wasn’t even just Jordan. That whole generation (Barkley excluded) basically remained with the team that drafted them and waited patiently to try and build a winner around them until the end of their careers. Ewing in NY, Hakeem in Houston, Robinson in San Antonio, Drexler in Portland, Stockton/Malone in Utah, Payton in Seattle, Mullin in Golden State, Isiah in Detroit. None of them cried to join Jordan so they could get a ring too. All of them tried their best to BEAT Jordan because they didn’t want to be known as MJ’s sidekick.

          • Col. Sanders

            Exactly – that’s what I had on mind. I used MJ only as an example, because even him (first 7 years of his career) never tought about calling Larry or Magic just because he coudn’t beat C’s and later Pistons. It’s hard to imagine he’d be a GOAT if he choose other way back then.
            Today’s breed of superstars is much more different/weaker. I’m not a fan of that kind of approach but it is what it is. Older type of mentality is probably never coming back. Last guy with pedigree from 90s & all in one team (Dirk) ended his journey last year.

            • x%sure

              You’re ignoring the constant complaints on sites like this about Harden’s evasions, tricks, softness, overall nature and whatnot, and that he has two years left, and he specifically points to one team where he knows the players, putting his contracted ted team at a disadvantage, and on and on.

              Whoever Col. Sanders is, wants to paint everyone as Harden, which is not fair. He hasn’t even done the work of being bad!!— like Jimmy Butler did, and at least be interesting and have a story.
              And yes Harden is princesslike, LilD, though the image of Percy taking the football home comes to my mind. Also Paul George clinging to whoever recruits him until they’re done with him.

              Unless of course… his demands were already put in his contract as Hirschen is indicating and the Rockets signed off on it. A new set of heroes & villians emerges. And chumps like hwmvps.

              • Col. Sanders

                About his playing style – I’m not a fan of that typ of approach (just like shooting 3s in today’s volume & ignoring the fact that the paint even exist) but he does what rules allow him to do. Change the rules first, but don’t complain on man for maximizing what he’s allowed to.

                I’m just tired of new-aged bb-fans who still keep trashing certain players. There was a time when Mamba was a villain and even when he was doing historic things people keept trashing him (just like Harden’s last two seasons). He’s soft with that kind of attitude, just like rest of the league. Nuthin’ more, nuthin’ less…

                • x%sure

                  If everyone’s the same, then everybody’s equally guilty. It’s a formula to fight that nagging insanity. Nuthin more, Nuthin less.

    • Al Hirschen

      Anthony Puccio
      Sources around the league believe there is a “verbal agreement” between the Nets and Rockets that would bring James Harden to Brooklyn, and create a superteam with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving

    • stevep-4

      Bulls might participate with Lavine or Porter going out and picks & youngsters coming in. They have open roster spots.

  1. jjd002

    They bent over backwards for Harden for years. I don’t have a problem with him wanting to get out, but I do have a problem with him saying he only wants to go to the Nets and they need to accept the best they can from them. The Nets can’t offer anything that would be considered a fair deal. He’s acting like a child.

  2. madmanTX

    Harden and his trade demand can go shave his beard. Rockets better not give up Harden for anything less than a blockbuster package.

  3. WSnotAstros2017

    I am watching Stephen A and company battling on this. I liked Harden before all this away from OKC and Westbrook and KD. But now I am mixed with this mess Rockets are in. Makes me wonder if both Harden and Westbrook would want out if got Doc Rivers. Or Lue. Someone known as a coach. But unless get someone Rockets will be rebuilding for a while

  4. phillyballers

    Of the teams that can trade for him… Nets offer is probably the best. Sixers arent dealing Simmons for Harden.

    • PhillyPhan69

      I hope not. I would keep Ben/Jo at almost all costs. But if they want Tobias/Horford + J Rich and some assets we could certainly talk lol

    • Theone23

      Nets offer would probably be the worst. They have no real assets that would intrigue me from a Houston perspective. I think teams like Orlando, Indiana, Charlotte would be able to put together better packages than the Nets could. And if I’m Houston, that is exactly where I’m looking to send Harden’s ungrateful rear end

      • phillyballers

        I don’t see quality assets on any of those teams other than Indiana.

        Maybe you get Dipo and Turner for Harden is your thought?

      • Col. Sanders

        Let’s see – Harden wants to go to Brooklyn, KD wants him there but Kyrie does not.

        Would be very ironic (but talent wise fair) to swap these two…

  5. Kowalski

    There’s only one (1) basketball! Thats what i thought when i heard james harden’s request to play alongside kyrie & KD. LOL!

  6. Tatsumaki

    If anything jrue holidays deal just outlined a deal for the rockets. Bar none it will take 3 unprotected and 2/3 pick swaps and young players. That’s the only way rockets could survive without there own picks going forward.

  7. brian214

    “even if they do not consider it satisfactory.” Are you kidding me? I don’t know much about the Rockets in regards to how much they catered to him w/roster construction and just building around him in general, but this really pisses me off. I don’t usually bash on pro athletes and favor team owners BUT this is the ultimate prima donna move and an unfortunate example of why some fans are losing passion for sports. With that said, if Philly trades Ben + whatever for Harden I’m gonna be REALLY disappointed.

    • Can you imagine rookie coach Stephen Silas trying to coach Harden with that attitude. Demanding and all the rest. I would say ownership sees that as a problem and will eventually trade him this offseason. Hiring Silas means full rebuild. Westbrook and Harden are absolutely gone.

    • Tatsumaki

      I’m guessing it would be simmons/embiid, thybul, and Richardson and 2 firsts lottery protected and maybe a pick swap or seconds.

      • OrienGreene

        Philly has no depth as it is, If they trade Embiid or Simmons they won’t be any better than Houston was last year.

      • KnickerbockerAl

        You got nothing. This is worse than Sillyman. You can’t be him. Take up another sport.

    • KnickerbockerAl

      Harden is a diva in Houston. They have been building around him since Howard. Nothing has worked, wonder why. Now Westbrook wants to leave. Story says he would stay if Westbrook deal brought back something. Considering they moved their best wing Covington. Seems to me they are cleaning house now. Harden is not a team guy. Never work in Philly. Westbrook is better imo. Harden is absolutely maneuvering to Bklyn. They are probably negotiating right now.

  8. hiflew

    If he said that to me, I would trade him to the worst team I could find, even if I found the return unsatisfactory. I mean I would be rebuilding anyway, so what if it ended up taking an extra year or two. These players need to realize that even though they are stars, they are still the employees in this arrangement.

    • Rocket32

      hiflew Pulling that stuff on your players, especially a Harden, a big name player who’s been their for years, is a good way to have word spread around the league and have the top talent start avoiding your organization in FA whenever possible.

      • Theone23

        I would be willing to take that chance in this specific situation. Harden is a prima donna, and he has no real leverage here to request a trade to a specific team, regardless of return. Houston needs to tell him to kick rocks.

      • hiflew

        It’s also a good way to show players that you aren’t going to take that garbage from them. Especially a small market team where free agents aren’t going to clamor to go to anyway.

        Plus, I would argue that the rest of the team would probably appreciate the fact that Harden didn’t receive better treatment than they would just because he is paid more.

  9. clubber_lang84

    If Harden wants to bail after all they gave up, send his ass to Orlando or wherever and let him rot for 2 years.

    • x%sure

      And what if he starts winning there. The Rockets leverage would be in expecting him to work, not in exiling him and making him someone else’s problem. That does happen, but I hope Fertita doesn’t knuckle over and prepares for a jury.

      • x%sure

        I mean, I would like to see a gov’nor challenge a contract-breaker legitimately, if only to make up for the Kyrie Irving/ Cavalier situation. He also had 2 years left, and guess who is egging on Harden now.

  10. stevep-4

    What a great team mate Beardo is.

    Yeh I think it is time for Harden to find out what it is like to be exiled. He signed a very lucrative contract which in part made it hard to build a real team around him and now he wants to break his agreement. Teams learned something from the Melo to Nix trade.

    Could be Nets didn’t learn from the Celtics trade though. He is a bad fit in BKLN which shows how little he knows about winning.

    HOU should hold out and tell him he can spend the rest of his contract on the bench a la Marbury, or let him take a $1 buyout and find out how much cap space exists right now.

  11. Theone23

    Houston should absolutely NOT cave into Harden’s ridiculous demands. This is not the AD situation, and Harden has considerably less leverage given the 2 years left on his contract. If I’m Houston, the only reason I’m trading Harden is to get the moon back. If that package isn’t there, I’m simply staying put. Harden can cry and whine all he want, but he really has no real leverage here.

  12. Natergater77

    If I’m the Rockets I get what I can now that Harden has shown he is self-centered. And the only one who will over pay for him is Morley. So I go to him and work a 3 team deal that also moves Russ.

    Philly Gets:
    Julius Randle

    New York Gets:

    Houston Gets:
    Lakers 2020 2nd Round from 76ers
    OKC 2020 1st Round from 76ers
    DAL 2023 1st Round from Knicks

    Seems like New York gives up a lot, but one they are the Knicks and two that 2023 Dal pick probably is going to be earl to mid 20s.

    Houston has picks and Simmons to build around, they would prefer Embid, and maybe Morley would want to put Harden and Simmons together as I have said, but I think Philly much prefer to find a way to move Horford.

  13. floridagators

    Geez dude use your right hand for something useful and take a load off.

  14. kylewait89

    Really though, what incentive do the Rockets have for trading him? I get it, he wants to be traded but saying only to the Nets…okay you’re staying in Houston.

    The Ringer asked the same question on why there is this assumption that they have to trade him and I’ve always felt that way. Just because a guy says so, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to. The Rockets front office definitely haven’t been the reason they didn’t succeed. They’ve built so many iterations of a winning team with the players falling short.

    If I’m Houston, I’m not trading him if my only option is to one team. I’m holding onto my commodity until something I want as a team owner/front office personnel comes along.

  15. dreamrei

    trade him to the Italian league. lol. watch his beard fall out when he hears the news. Dude is just tired of getting whooped in the west and wants an easy ride through the east. if he does get traded, Westbrook stays put since he can run the Rockets like he did in OKC.

  16. KnickerbockerAl

    Fact is it’s better to keep Westbrook. Cause you can get more for Harden. And just move forward with rebuilding team. Rockets are done as they are. Moving Covington is a sign they are tearing it down. If they can’t get enough for Westbrook. They can hold onto him till next yr. It seems they are ready to tear down this team. If Harden wants Nets. Rockets got no choice. How many teams can trade for him in first place. The few that can will not do it if he doesn’t want to go there. Dinwiddie, LeVert, Allen is a good start. With Westbrook they are still a playoff team. They will get at least 2 picks. Plus swaps. Nets window is now. So that could help to make trade happen and more assets.

  17. El Don

    I for once agree with Harden!
    Come on guys he has given it all to HOU for 8 years, they owe him!
    Even Morey admitted that as a GM & franchise HOU did fail to build the right team for Harden to win!
    He has the leverage of his will, if he wants traded he should have the right to be traded, if HOU wants to trade him & he won’t they will do it anyway, so why does the team have more rights than the guy that makes the team succeed?
    If I am Harden & they refuse me I would have a down year, as they can withhold payment if you refuse to play, you can play awful & still be payed until HOU gets the common sense to do right by the people they owe it to!
    Of course Harden got the max money possible is not his job to help the team financially to get better players, to help the team he has to be payed the most & the team has to go on to lux tax to get other guys, stars shouldn’t leave a single cent on the table to help owners, like ever!
    Reportedly over his career Nowitzki left $2ooMM on the table to help DAL, that is shame on him, Cuban has deep pockets & anyway DAL never got any real help for him or nothin’ to show for all that money.
    A star should get paid the most never give up their money, they earn it.
    End of rant, Harden is one of the very best ballers I have ever seen & he only deserves the very best, hope he gets it!

      • hiflew

        Honestly, most owners (Cuban excluded because he is new money) probably support trump because they are as rich as he is and they know he has been looking out for the interests of the rich regardless of his lack of character. I’m not a fan of trump for many reasons, one of which is because I am poor and trump would probably be happier if people like me would just mysteriously disappear and leave the world for him and his cronies.

  18. mcdusty49

    Just checking in to see what my guy Harden-Westbrook for MVP thinks about this mess…apparently he only has opinions when it comes to trolling the Lakers…the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers that is

  19. James Harden. What a selfish, entitled A-hole (yes, with a capital A). I now have a new least-favorite player in the NBA. Congrats you POS

  20. No player on one of these 35% contracts (be it super max or after 10 years) can demand a trade with any credibility. Players are myopic (or good at faking it) but they know the game and can add. They have to know the minute they sign one these contracts their team can’t trade them without, at best, taking a huge discount in terms of on court talent. Particularly in an environment where the cap is relatively flat (while these contracts increase by a cumulative 8% a year). Meaning, I’d be very comfortable giving them a hard no.

  21. phenomenalajs

    I hope the Nets learned something from their 2013 deal with the Celtics, even if it was under previous ownership and management. Giving up first round picks and/or pick swaps for the foreseeable future is not a good way to do business.

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