Latest On James Harden, Russell Westbrook

Since word broke that James Harden was hoping for a trade out of Houston, reports have indicated that the Rockets are hoping they can convince him to reconsider his position and make roster moves that show him the team can still contend for a title. However, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon suggested during an appearance on Brian Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast that the team’s commitment to that position may be wavering.

“The sense I get from the Rockets is that their ambition, their goal, their hope is no longer about salvaging the relationship with James Harden and kind of getting him on board,” MacMahon said (hat tip to RealGM). “There is a realization that his mind is made up. He wants out and there is a determination to say ‘Okay, we get it. This happens in the NBA, but just because James Harden wants out, doesn’t mean he gets to dictate where and for what.'”

As MacMahon explains, even if the Rockets are no longer confident that Harden can be convinced to spend the rest of his career in Houston, that doesn’t mean the team will make a trade as soon as possible to send him to his preferred landing spot in Brooklyn.

MacMahon, who suggested last week that Houston is “willing to get uncomfortable” with Harden and Russell Westbrook, told Windhorst that the club would be seeking a young potential franchise player and a Jrue Holiday-esque package of draft picks in any deal for Harden. And the Rockets are prepared to be patient in the hopes of having that price met, if not by the Nets then perhaps by the Sixers or another club.

“What they’re saying is, ‘Look, we’re not going to be rushed into this,'” MacMahon said. “… They’re saying, ‘Hey, you’re going to have to come to camp, you’re probably going to have to start the season.’ At this point, the Rockets have to be willing to listen. They understand that at some point they’re going to have to make a trade. But it’s not when he has two years plus a player option on his deal.”

As for Westbrook, MacMahon said there’s “not a fit for him that makes any kind of sense” on the trade market for now. The Rockets’ hope is that Westbrook will start the season with the team, show he’s healthy, and potentially increase his value, per MacMahon.

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70 thoughts on “Latest On James Harden, Russell Westbrook

    • It would be insane if they reacquired their own picks they sent out to offload Paul for Westbrook just to get something for Harden. They would essentially have traded Harden and Paul for Westbrook, although you could take it back further to original trade for Harden from OKC.

      I’d expect OKC ends up trading Harden again for a better package of picks within a year.

    • tward09

      They’re already making it clear they don’t want to contend for a few years. Why would they waste Harden’s career?

  1. case7187

    Why do these players expect the owners and fans to be loyal to them but they can’t be loyal to owners and fans this league needs a major crackdown on players demanding it’s their way or the highway it’s starting to make the NBA unbearable to watch or care about

    • Jason Lancaster

      Who do these fans think they are, acting like players have to stay loyal no matter what.

      Fertitta has ruined this team. He’s refused to pay the tax, forcing trades that hurt them on the floor. He’s fired maybe the best GM in the league. He had the audacity to fire the coach and say “run it back,” as if that’s possible after letting go of the coach and GM.

      It’s guys like you that convinced Garnett to waste away in Minnesota. Boo!

      • FlaveFlava

        Garnett didn’t “waste” away in Minnesota, only morons who assign every individual superstar each season with a championship-or-bust moniker think that way.

        Players absolutely should have the right to have a say in where they play, but they aren’t free from the critique (fair or unfair) from others for doing so.

        Bill Simmons discussed this with Raja Belk recently on a podcast. Next CBA will be hell.

        • Clayfield

          I actually agree with you that players should have a say in where they play, and that championship or bust is a silly attitude in general…but come on, Kevin Garnett absolutely wasted part of his career in Minnesota. Dude was a true superstar who made it out of the 1st round exactly one time in his twelve years with that franchise.

          • brewpackbuckbadg

            I sort of agree with you and Lancaster but using “wasted” while getting one of the highest salaries seems a little wrong. Did Ernie Banks “waste” all his time with the CUbs.

      • Lrtexasman

        Harden didn’t waste away in Houston, he failed to show up in close out games to go to the finals. Morey built a team that struggled in western conference finals where he faced teams willing to play defense on the perimeter and use their size to out rebound and out defend the Rockets. No amount of “tax” money was going to fix that as Rockets did not want to play a true center or power forward. They preferred the 3-5 spots to be be 3 point shooting wing defenders.

      • x%sure

        The “waste away” attitude is all wrong from a business perspective.
        Also Garnett was not great indeed played dirty.

    • implant

      I don’t think the players expect the fans or the owners to be loyal to them. It’s a business. Danny Green just won with the Lakers and was traded. And he said he gets it, no hard feelings.

      • I get the business aspect of the game and can respect players saying they won’t resign and trade me if you want value. But signing multiyear extensions and then demanding out and saying send you to a specific team is such a weak move

  2. InvalidUserID

    Good for them. He’s under contract and shouldn’t be able to dictate where he wants to go.

    • jkoms57

      Harden: I want to play with a star

      Team trades for former MVP Westbrook

      Harden: I want a championship

      Well then play better Harden, you’re like the highest paid guard in the league. Its on you to deliver, not cry about a team that’s bent over backwards for you

      Swap Lebron for Harden and guarentee you Rockets win a title.. that’s the difference

  3. Tatsumaki

    James is still under contract for 3 years, if he opts to not play he doesn’t get paid pretty simple.

    • SheaGoodbye

      When is the last time an NBA willingly let that happen? This isn’t the NFL. They won’t go that route.

      Harden will either get moved this winter or before the trade deadline when either the Rockets or Nets finally blink and make something happen.

      • Tatsumaki

        Rockets aren’t in a rush and like they said they choose when he gets delt. This ain’t a players league even when everyone knew ad was getting delt and lakers had all leverage they still got a huge hall. Rockets will get a huge package eventually.

    • Jason Lancaster

      What if he plays half heartedly? He still gets paid, but he doesn’t get anyone excited. What if he sits because of a minor injury? What if he retires? What if he actually gets hurt?

      All these things would hurt Houston – some more than others.

      Forcing a player to play is risky. Anthony Davis sat for months because NO didn’t want to risk his trade value. Why wouldn’t Houston do that here?

      • buttholesurfer69 2

        Difference is in HOU with Harden and RWB the team is at least a playoff team possibly even a “dark horse” depending on what role players they sign.

        In NO sitting Davis was a no brainer bc the team was an 8 seed at best.

        If Harden and RWB suit up and the Rockets are 12-2 in Jan/Feb maybe they make one last run. Or at least up Westbrook’s trade value.

      • x%sure

        Sitting for months would hurt Harden’s trade value, so a poor example. It didn’t matter with AD.

        The whole loyalty tack takes a backseat to the 3-years-left contract, and that doesn’t matter if an out was written into it!— furthermore while still maintaining an order a trade to a certain spot. Anyone heard of a contract with provisions for unilaterally ordering a trade to a third party?— not just a floating termination option, which does in exist some industries.

        There is more going on. Everyone keeps saying such-and-such is good or bad or impossible or inevitable, but there is no particular thesis in play on this page, so it’s all about urges.

  4. harden-westbrook-mvps

    Just another typical baseless rumor from the “experts” at ESPN.

    • SheaGoodbye

      Kudos to you for sticking with your username through all of this. Be out and proud!

    • LordBanana

      Doesn’t seem too baseless considering they just gave up an important player in Covington for salary relief and future lottery protected draft picks.
      That’s not the type of move that teams make if they plan on competing.

  5. Lionel Muggeridge

    The idea that you can try to and fix the problem without trading a disgruntled player is silly for the most part. The Rockets should just trade them both for whatever they can get. Start over! It’s not going to get better

    • SheaGoodbye

      Yeah, the relationship is no doubt toast. The only question is how long it will take for this soap opera to play out.

      I originally thought it would take longer for things to reach this point, but here we are. So maybe the front office won’t slow roll this inevitable demise as much as I expected. I don’t see him staying past the deadline.

    • Tatsumaki

      Both comments here are both uninformed and unintelligent. Why would rockets traded harden for nothing with no picks the next 5 years? You guys are both nets fans acting like your going to get an mvp for nothing. Again still signed for 3 years, the package for jrue holiday with 1 year left was very telling. Harden is both better than pg and jrue by miles. Harden might delt but it will cost young players With star potential and 2/3 Unprotected 1st round picks and 2 pick swaps at the very least.

      • it’s not necessarily of value as much as leverage. While he has three years remaining on his contract, They have two disgruntled stars, multiple rumors of dissatisfied players, a poor collection of talent on their roster outside of their stars, and a cheap “Trump-supporting” owner. Teams know that the Rockets won’t be able to maneuver into building a contender. The only teams with young potentially available franchise cornerstones are the Celtics and 76ers. Houston might be lucky to get Jaylen Brown or Ben Simmons at most. And those teams might be wary because they know they only have a three year window until Harden leaves for wherever he wants. I’d rather tank knowing 2021 is a solid draft rather than be mediocre for the next couple of years wondering if anyone will take the bait.

        • jjd002

          That “Trump supporting” article was click bait. I really don’t understand why people think he’s cheap. He’s been willing to spend and just offered Harden $100 million, when he still had multiple years left on his deal. But, to be fair I’m sure he’s lost a lot of money because of Covid and most of his wealth is from restaurants.

      • jkoms57

        Yep. They went all in on Westbrook to get a star to play with Harden..

        And he still crying like the little girl he is deep down.

  6. everybody is getting tired of those players,all they want is atention,no matter how much they get it won’t be enough,big babies

    • Jason Lancaster

      You’re so tired of it, you’re commenting about it. Makes sense.

  7. The Knicks makes plenty of sense for Westbrook. They just released Payton and now that they have a young core of Barrett/Toppin/Robinson why not get these guys learning how to win and get the Knicks back into relevance finally? Westbrook makes them 7th-8th seed at the very least.

    Randle+Smith+enough picks to make Houston say yes.

    • FlaveFlava

      Locks you into a shi**y contract, off of your timeline. I can see the argument for getting back into intention, but the draft picks would be a non-starter I’d imagine.

      Actually like what the Knicks have done over last couple of days. No more Taj or Portis, Toppin is a ready-scorer that should help this year, you hope Barrett and Mitchell continue to grow. I think the Myles Powell pick-up is great as well, both from a basketball and marketing standpoint.

    • jkoms57

      Randle and Smith got waived I believe

      I do agree that Westbrook makes sense on the knicks,
      But was thinking we’d see the trade at the draft

      • buttholesurfer69 2

        Russ makes sense as a pure salary dump, MAYBE

        Like Randle + 2 future 2nd round picks for Russ

        But even then you have to wonder … didnt Russ almost single handedly ruin Oladipo in OKC? Is he the guy you want to pair with young guys?

        Also HOU wouldn’t sell that low…at this point

  8. KezarMike

    Remember that anyone who takes Westbrook will have to pay him FORTY SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS when he is 35 years old. He already has knee problems. I doubt there’s much of a market for him. The Knicks ? Who knows. Can’t think of another team.

    Harden has a huge contract too but is a better player. I’d never give up the three young players and picks that have been rumored for a Nets trade. But the Nets don’t want to waste “the KD years” and Irving has injury problems. If I was the Sixers, I’d never trade Ben Simmons for him.

    Fertitta’s first mistake when he bought the Rockets was to agree to that ridiculous contract for CP3.I wouldn’t exactly say he’s cheap. Lakers don’t want to pay the luxury tax either. We Warriors fans are lucky to have Lacob, an owner who is as obsessed as any fan to win.

    • jjd002

      Yea I don’t understand the “Tillman is cheap” when he offered Harden $105 million extra and has traded for both Paul and Westbrook. And another thing to consider is he’s probably lost a lot of money in the past year because of the asinine policies of limiting a restaurant’s ability to make money.

  9. KezarMike

    By the way, the Rockets would probably take practically anything the Knicks offer to get rid of the Westbrook contract.

  10. Chief Two Hands

    Westbrook loses his cool at the drop of a hat and Harden is the epitome of a “me first” prima donna. I hope the Rockets keep them both. There is a reason neither of those guys can win a championship.

  11. phillyballers

    You put the task on the Nets. Go find a 3rd or 4th team with a package we actually want.

  12. WSnotAstros2017

    I am at point say get them out. Rockets will not go anywhere with Silas as coach or Stone as GM. Nothing is going to keep them here. Do not know what December will be like. What does Queen and Dwaba give the Rockets. I was liking Harden when was just him. Then CP3 thought great but first season hurt and a loss in playoffs. Next season not out as much then dump for Westbrook. I thought maybe but Covid hit and in bubble was not impressed. Gordon even has not been same as season we had Lou Williams even though for what time had. The Houston sports teams right now make me wonder. Astros will be very different this spring. And perhaps after that too. Texans wonder if will be a contending team strongly in their existence. Not sure will want to see the Rockets this season. As will not have the fans this season with the Harden and Westbrook limbo. Fans at games probably 25% and TV wise even Nationally. I think team will be rebuilding for a year or two. I do not blame the two for wanting out with things now and maybe beyond. I just hope we can see a caliber team before the next Presidential election

  13. I'm a starboy not a Dr...

    Rox want a young all-star player/caliber player and picks, similar to what OKC got in return for Schroder. Two teams makes sense;pacers & bulls. While the pacers may not have the amount of picks…they have Oladipo (all-star when healthy ( and and 3 and D big in Turner that they can ask for with a pick or two. With the bulls they can ask for Lavine, Carter Jr and picks… No disrespect but Levert & Dinwiddie just doesn’t move the needle for me…

    • stevep-4

      Not the bulls, please.

      I do think that would have some sort of No Exit symmetry for 2 of the biggest crybabies in the NBA to have to play out their oversized contracts on a team that is going nowhere.

      I hope no one takes on those contracts.

      My guess is that the Wiz will take Westbrook for Wall though.

  14. mike.honcho

    ROCKETS should take their sweet time, look for the best offer, however long it takes.

    They’re under no obligation to trade Harden to the NETS – the team with best offer gets Harden.

    I’m kinda sick of this player empowerment crap. It’s as if the players are mistreated and underpaid somehow. It’s as if a signed contract isn’t worth anything anymore.

    • El Don

      Teams trade players all the time to teams they don’t wanna go to… so why does a team (BTW no one cares about teams) have the right to send a player away, but the player doesn’t have the right to go whenever he wants!

  15. DakotaJoe

    I’m a Sixers fan and shudder at the thought of getting Harden. Yes, he’s an amazing offensive talent, but I can’t stand watching his style of basketball.

    • goastros123

      Rockets in 1995 didn’t get off to the start they hoped by trading for Clyde Drexler. They made major trade. What if the Sixers don’t get off to the start they hoped and think they need a major trade shakeup?

  16. buttholesurfer69 2

    Is it just me or does Simmons for Harden seem inevitable?

    Not sure there’s any other under 25 guy you could convince yourself is a future franchise player on the market. Plus Morey wants to make that deal already.

    To settle for a package of role players and conditional picks would just be asinine for HOU

  17. Lrtexasman

    Westbrook outplayed Harden during the season last year. He averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7 assists before the bubble. He played hard and was worth his contract. Harden is fine until he gets D’d up. A rookie flustered him I. The playoffs. Giving Harden away because he was injured in the playoffs would be the same mistake we make with CP3 because of his “bad contract”. We paid picks to get rid of him and his contract and be played to all star level last year and OKC flipped him for players and picks instead of paying to trade him away. That was a stupid trade by Morey and thank goodness he’s not here to do that with Westbrook.

  18. hoosierhysteria

    Rox are stuck. Wise guy saying harden to pacers….NFW. Pacers want players who share the ball and play defense. We do face a hurt, overpaid dude in VO…but he will be FA soon and people actually want him.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      No, stay far, far away from Westbrook. Thankfully, as much as I fear Ball will be a bust, that pick almost assuredly takes Charlotte out of the Russ bidding. They have a crowded backcourt as is. Rozier likely needs to be moved. No need to acquire the selfish one man stat padder and watch him miss 20 shots a game to get his triple double.

  19. Lrtexasman

    I thought the same until I watched Westbrook play. He’s a baller and defers often to his teammates. I actually would prefer to trade Harden for the higher return and build a team of young talented players to compliment Westbrook. He needs a pick and roll center, a power Forward that can set picks, a 2 guard that can shoot and defend in transition, and a back up point guard that can play a solid 25 min per game to rotate with.

    • Chief Two Hands

      I get your point, but yeah, Westbrook is quite needy. His biggest flaw, other than being thin-skinned, is that he is a bad shooter but still constantly jacks up shots which are typically bricks.

    • stevep-4

      Yeah, so simple. Just build a roster that everyone in the NBA would like to have, and presto, you have a solution to the problems Westbrook poses.

  20. x%sure

    More knowledge is needed about what basis Harden has, if any, for his demands. He might be delusional and a source of problems for a team.

    As for Westbrook, he needed a downgrading, and nobody viscerally wants him on their team, and it didn’t work in Houston, but he could send an EC also-ran into the playoffs. I wonder what players think.

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