Rockets Notes: Harden, Westbrook, Draft

The Rockets aren’t opposed to entering the 2020/21 season with James Harden and Russell Westbrook on their roster, even if the two former MVPs aren’t happy about it, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, who says the team is “willing to get uncomfortable.” The Rockets continue to insist that neither player will be dealt unless a team meets their asking price.

As MacMahon details – and as we’ve heard throughout the last week or two – the Rockets believe time is on their side since both Harden and Westbrook remain under contract for at least two more seasons.

Houston is seeking an especially substantial return for Harden, according to MacMahon, who hears from sources that the club would want a “proven young star” as a headliner, along with a “massive” package of draft picks. While Harden is reportedly pushing to be dealt to the Nets, the Rockets don’t feel obligated to send him to his preferred destination, MacMahon adds.

While the Rockets recognize that Westbrook won’t return as significant a package as Harden, they’re not prepared to move him without receiving young talent and/or first-round picks, says MacMahon. Houston feels it would be selling low on Westbrook after he struggled during the restart due to his coronavirus recovery and a quadriceps injury.

MacMahon, who confirms the Rockets have spoken to the Wizards about a deal involving Westbrook and John Wall, also confirms that Houston would want additional assets in a swap with Washington. The Rockets believe Westbrook can increase his value with a strong start to the 2020/21 season and aren’t concerned that his dissatisfaction will affect his effort on the court.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • The Rockets are hoping to buy a draft pick on Wednesday night, ideally late in the first round or early in the second, sources tell MacMahon. I’m skeptical that any first-rounders will be for sale, but Houston should have options in the second round.
  • Although things aren’t great in Houston right now, they’d only get worse if the Rockets accept a bad deal for Harden, according to Jerome Solomon of The Houston Chronicle, who urges the team to be patient and not give in to the superstar’s demands.
  • Now that the Rockets have picked up the No. 16 pick (in a trade involving Robert Covington), Kelly Iko and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic examine what the team could do with that selection.
  • We passed along several more Rockets-related rumors earlier today.
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45 thoughts on “Rockets Notes: Harden, Westbrook, Draft

  1. If harden wants to be on the Nets it might not happen until the season starts. Nets will offer very little right now but if they get off to a poor start they will be trading a lot to get Harden.

    • 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.

        • Rocket32

          harden-westbrook-mvps What? You’re not looking forward to having to create your new
          ‘harden-durant -mvps’ account?

        • KnickerbockerAl

          Time for a new name bro …. look to the future.
          Makes sense to wait out Nets. Get all you can. There’s no rush. But I can’t see him going anywhere else. If thats what he wants. And Nets want.
          Now Westbrook might be better to move him draft night. If you know you are blowing it up. Best to get the picks you want. Hornets might give up 3 rd pick. If Wiseman is gone. I doubt Knicks give up 8th pick. I would give up 8th pick.

        • Chief Two Hands

          If you don’t believe in Santa, he won’t show up at your home. That is straight up naughty.

      • Meatloaf rulz

        Super team by names. 3 guys that only contribute when they have the ball. There’s only 1 ball

        • Chief Two Hands

          Yeah Durant and Irving is a train wreck of personalities waiting to happen. Adding Harden would only make it worse. I would love it.

  2. Tatsumaki

    As it should be, this armchair gms want harden for pennies on the dollar. Harden still has 3 years left, if he wants to be paid he plays.

    • jjd002

      What’s even better is half these people said previously how overrated Harden was and how much they hate his game. Now many want him on their team.

      • I don’t want him on my team because he doesn’t fit. Speaking from a neutral opinion Rockets should wait until after the season starts to trade him. First the Nets will low ball them because that is the only place he wants to go. Second he will add more teams just to get out of Houston which drives up the price. Some team will want that instant offense for a playoff drive and over pay for him.

  3. DeathbyDeathwest

    Tilman Fertitta runs a basketball team as well as his friend ran a casino.

  4. clubber_lang84

    Yeah, if Harden is leaving the franchise, then why would the Rockets do him any favors? They have hamstrung themselves enough with the Paul trade, the Westbrook trade, etc. get Max value for him and nothing less. He can join whoever he wants when his quarter billion dollar contract is up in 2 years

  5. bradthebluefish

    If I were the Nets, the only way I trade all of that is if Harden is willing to renegotiate his contract.

  6. Who else would trade for Harden while knowing that he’s not going to commit beyond his contract? There really isn’t a team with a bunch of young assets and a star who are one piece away. It’s not like the Pelicans-Lakers. You might as well flip Westbrook to the Hornets and send Harden to the Nets. Otherwise, you’ll spend the next three years with a mediocre roster and disgruntled players. Then lose them for nothing or less. I don’t see an avenue for them to get better than the Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, or Nuggets in the next three years. Stock up on draft picks. The next couple of classes are solid and there will be a better chance to build a balanced roster with the pieces you retain.

    • Nets: 2020 1st, 2023 1st, 2025 1st, 2027 1st, Dinwiddie, LeVert, Allen, Claxton, 2024 pick swap, 2026 pick swap

      Hornets: Terry Rozier, Cody Zeller, Jalen McDaniels, Malik Monk, 2020 2nd round pick, 2023 protected first
      *(I wouldn’t even give a first but for arguments sake)

      • Philadelphia: Simmons, Richardson, Smith, 2020 1st, 2020 2nd, 2021 1st, 2023 1st

  7. Sillivan

    According to this article
    The club would want a “proven young star” as a headliner, along with a “massive” package of draft picks.

    As I expected,
    Step 1:
    proven young star

  8. Sillivan

    Trade for Harden
    I really hope that Nets and 76ers fans understand
    1. proven young star
    2. massive package of draft picks.

    2 key words

    • Sillivan

      ALL STAR is not enough, need PROVEN

      2 first round picks are not enough
      need MASSIVE

    • clubber_lang84

      I don’t care what anyone says, Harden is a top 5 player. You don’t give him away for scraps so he can get a title. You are exactly right, proven and massive is exactly what he is worth

        • implant

          @clubber show me one superstar in the NBA that has asked to be traded that wasnt. There is no way Harden is a Rocket come opening day.

      • Lrtexasman

        The Rockets have leverage, as Harden and Westbrook, are both under contract for two years with 3rd year player options.

        • implant

          Bring under contract doesn’t give the Rockets leverage. It’s a player driven league, the contract is worth about as much as the paper its printed on. Sucks for the Rockets although I think it’s Karma for the BS Morey pulled with China. Crash and burn

          • Lrtexasman

            Of course it does, otherwise he would already be in Brooklyn. If he was in his last year , he could force the trade because the Rockets would lose all value. As it stands, Harden would have to sit out two years and lose 85 million dollars.

  9. Jason Lancaster

    The only proven young stars on teams looking to “win now” are in Boston, Miami, Philly, Dallas, and Denver. The only teams on that list with massive picks are Boston and Denver.

    So, unless Houston moves off of their demands somehow, there’s a short list of teams that can give them what they want. We’ll see what Boston does I guess.

    • goastros123

      Houston could target unproven guys with potential like Zach Lavine and D’Angelo Russell. Teams like the Bulls and the Timberwolves aren’t going anywhere.

    • Sillivan

      I have a trade idea
      Brown and Hayward for Harden and Gordon
      Add all the picks as needed

    • Curtisrowe

      Tatum is a no go, and I don’t think Brown would be enough. Either way I don’t see Harden and Boston being a match.

  10. DynamiteAdams

    Do the sixers give up Simmons or Embiid for Harden and if so which one?

  11. El Don

    Boy how dense can be the HOU FO?
    If you keep the guys to start the season, all you can hope is that they will be unhappy & their performance should deep as they mustn’t put the effort in… so how does this improves their value?
    Trade them for whatever at this point you failed them enough, just let’em go & save some face!

  12. formerlyz

    Been saying for a couple of months that Houston should try to trade Harden to someone dumb like the Knicks, but that doesnt seem likely…If they do move him to the Nets

    Caris Levert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Deandre Jordan, Garrett Temple, Rodion Kurucs, Nets 2022 1st round pick, 2020 Denver 2nd round pick, 2021 Phoenix 2nd round pick, 2021 Atlanta 2nd round pick

    just for Harden

    makes sense…Harden and Kyrie on the same team….ROFLMAO

    • x%sure

      Why Jordan not Allen? I guess why even try this… not really what Houston would (say they) want… or even Marks, knowing that Harden & Irving will conflict.

      Harden: for a smart guy, does dumb things

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