Rockets Rumors: Westbrook, Harden, Luxury Tax, Tate

The Hornets and Knicks are the only teams with “verifiable” trade interest in Rockets star Russell Westbrook so far, Marc Stein of The New York Times writes in his weekly newsletter. And Stein cautions that both clubs’ interest is “conditional” rather than aggressive.

Some people around the NBA believe that Charlotte’s desire to acquire Westbrook will increase if the team doesn’t end up drafting LaMelo Ball on Wednesday night, per Stein. As for the Knicks, their stance is best described as “weighing, but resisting,” according to Stein, who says multiple people within the organization are hesitant to make a move for Westbrook and his pricey contract.

Stein suggests that the best offer the Rockets could expect from the Knicks for Westbrook at this point would include one future first-round pick from Dallas, along with players who aren’t part of the team’s long-term plans, such as perhaps Julius Randle and Dennis Smith Jr.. Even then, there’s no guarantee New York would want to take on the three years and $133MM left on Westbrook’s contract.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • While the Rockets remain reluctant to move James Harden and don’t feel pressure to make a move right away, the “overwhelming expectation” around the NBA is that he’ll eventually be dealt, whether it’s this week, next month, or sometime in 2021, according to David Aldridge and Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Past inquires of Harden have simply been turned aside by the Rockets, but there’s a sense that they’ll now come around if the package is strong enough.
  • Although Harden is reportedly focused on getting to the Nets, the Sixers‘ interest in him has grown in recent weeks, sources tell The Athletic’s duo. According to Aldridge and Iko, rapper Meek Mill – who is from Philadelphia – has been trying to convince Harden to come to the Sixers.
  • The Clippers aren’t currently pursuing Harden, per The Athletic’s report.
  • Sources tell Aldridge and Iko that Harden feels as if some of the Rockets’ decisions – including roster moves and hirings – have been made without substantial impact from him.
  • The Athletic’s sources maintain that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is “hellbent” on keeping the team out of luxury tax territory for the foreseeable future.
  • Sydney Kings swingman Jae’Sean Tate, who went undrafted out of Ohio State in 2018, is expected to sign with the Rockets sometime after free agency opens later this week, Stein reports. John Hollinger of The Athletic recently referred to Tate – who made over 40% of his three-point attempts in Australia last season – as one of the most highly-regarded players outside of the U.S. Houston is also bringing Sydney’s head coach Will Weaver stateside as an assistant on Stephen Silas’ staff, as we relayed last week.
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40 thoughts on “Rockets Rumors: Westbrook, Harden, Luxury Tax, Tate

  1. goastros123

    Sixers will have to give up some thing of equal value to get Harden, such as Embiid. Because of that, I’m not sure they’d want to trade for Harden, unless they feel like they need a star shakeup to get over the hump.

    • 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.

        • jonnyzuck

          If Harden is willing to push a deal to Brooklyn hard enough I think he’ll go there even if the Nets can’t give enough to match Harden’s value.

    • GoLandCrabs

      Sixers have better assets than the Nets do. If they offer Simmons there’s no chance for Brooklyn to top it.

      • DeathbyDeathwest

        As not a Sixer’s fan, I wouldn’t give up Embiid or Simmons for Harden. If that’s Houston’s ask, Harden should play in Brooklyn.

  2. metsie1

    So let me get this straight. A Rapper, Meek Mill, who has no affiliation with the Sixers is trying to convince James Harden to come to Philadelphia? I guess because he’s a fan? What? The most 2020 thing I’ve heard! Maybe he can slip Harden an extra $20M under the table. Now that might make a difference.

    • Little_Dunker_45

      This kind of thing happens all the time. These are human beings who have lives outside of basketball. Not nba2k players who exist for 1 reason. Maybe he likes rap?

      • whoneedsfacts

        In a lot of these instances it will be their close friends, often celbs and music artists that personally recruit them to play for the teams they support.

    • El Don

      No way!
      I am all for PHI to get Harden but not by giving away Simmons or Embiid, you can make a deal by way of J-Rich & Toby plus 3 or 4 picks… then that is a championship team for sure!

  3. WSnotAstros2017

    What is best. Send Westbrook out and keep Harden till maybe trade deadline. Will it not be a distraction since he is determined to leave. I do not think anything will change his mind. I still do not understand the luxury tax with sports. But I just hope can do something although may not get good return but who knows but somewhat do not blame for wanting out as with craziness lately with team from saying CP3 and Harden did not get along. Now him and Westbrook.

  4. Sillivan

    Per article: The Athletic’s sources maintain that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is “hellbent” on keeping the team out of luxury tax territory for the foreseeable future
    NBA should ask Tilman Fertitta to sell the team because new owner can help small market increase luxury tax income.

      • Jason Lancaster

        Pretty sure they mean this: Tax revenue is distributed to non-taxpaying teams via the CBA’s rev sharing framework. The primary beneficiaries of rev sharing are small market teams.

        So, if Houston’s owner was willing to pay the tax, small markets would have more money.

        • Little_Dunker_45

          Okay…so the NBA should step in and force him to sell the team so small markets get more money? David Stern is gone this isn’t the mafia lol. He is the owner its fertits pergotative

  5. ajh738

    seeing highlight videos of Tate with Sydney at he looks a lot like Rashad McCants and Joe Forte, similar builds and games. Do think he’ll be able to get his offense off in the NBA, and on spot ups he doesn’t have a quick release.

    • x%sure

      Sounds like his college game… and the answer is, not often enough! He was often on the verge of commanding a game with strength, attitude & leadership but no, he did not have a go-to game. Article said he developed a 3-pointer though, which would open up his short-jumper game. If they’re jumpers.

  6. Chief Two Hands

    The Rockets are falling apart and moving harden seems like the smart thing to do but how often do the Rockets do the smart thing?

  7. if knicks offer of a Dallas 1st, Smith and Randle, for Westbrook, they should jump on that deal..talking about not wanting to mess up cap for years and for team of future…what future, every year is always the same, bad draft, no good free agent signings. maybe if you pull of this trade, other players may want to play in NY and with Westbrook. and if he has a great year you can trade him next year since it would be less money and only 2 yrs

    • x%sure

      Agree, they want to rebuild properly, but don’t have much to rebuild with. Westbrook does have resale value due to his fine health. So does Wiggins, hint. Of course they want to get away from doing that, but rookies don’t cost much.

  8. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    “Sources tell Aldridge and Iko that Harden feels as if some of the Rockets’ decisions – including roster moves and hirings – have been made without substantial impact from him.”

    Did Harden’s job title change from “player?”

    • whoneedsfacts

      No but he isn’t just a player is he, he is the superstar, the only reason they don’t fully suck, the reason they are able to sale tickets.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Why do you care about Harden’s desire to influence decisions?

      If you were in Harden’s shoes, don’t you think you’d want some input on your teammates and coaches?

      Are you some kind of robot who doesn’t care who your coworkers are?

  9. brownscavsr4me

    Jae’Sean Tate is all hustle! Even though he’s 6’4 230, he would guard the 4 when Buckeyes played small ball. Great team defender. Also, im shocked he is averaging 16ppg on 66% shooting (28 games, 28 mpg) in Australia. So stoked he is getting his chance!

  10. phillyballers

    Andrew Wiggins, Looney and the No. 2 Overall Pick. Harden to the GSW, book it.

    • PhillyPhan69

      Perhaps but they would also need to offer Minnesota’s 2021 first round pick. I think if that offer exists it is the best return Houston could get

  11. mike.honcho

    Last I heard, the ROCKETS are still allowed to say “No” to Harden.

    This whole player empowerment thing is really some sticky stuff ……… as if players getting 30-50M a year contracts isn’t empowerment enough.

    • whoneedsfacts

      For your adverage player that’s the case, they have no voice and just lucky to make $$ playing ball, a superstar is the most valuable asset the team has is literally a partner of the organization that has more impact than every other aspect added together. Maybe in that case you deserve a little empowerment.

      • hiflew

        There is a big difference between a “little empowerment” and holding an organization hostage because you aren’t 100% happy.

  12. KnickerbockerAl

    Philly is a bad place for Harden. They are better with Westbrook. And it’s probably cheaper too. Been proposing Westbrook since Philly lost. I like Westbrook. Don’t get the hate he gets. Seems the new fans think ball is about shooting. Harden is a 1way player. I take a hard nose 2way star any day. I agree with writer. Rockets don’t need to rush a Harden trade. Considering rumors in Houston. Not gonna be a good place for NBA. Tillman might have to sell team. Or stay away. Trump politics is no place for an NBA team. Not good not good. To me the Nets is the best offer they could get. Only a few teams can trade for Harden. So I get waiting them out. As a Knick fan. I want Westbrook in the Garden. It would be magical again. NY would love his gm and attitude. He can also lead us back to contention. At 31 he has good yrs left. Plus we need a PG. He fits well with RJ. RJ is still young, team is young. Westbrook will take pressure and let them grow. They need that. No young player is ready for a fishbowl media. Here I agree with writer too. Not offering more than Randle, Portis, DSJ, Dallas pick. I even throw in this yrs 2nd rd pick #38. Eventually I give pick #27 instead. That two #1s. Those are three young players and picks. DSJ out of limelight will grow. Not offering more than that.

    • x_burner_X

      When did Russ become a two way player?? He hasn’t played D since 2012. Remeber how rookie Mitchell destroyed him in the 2018 Play offs?

      • hiflew

        He literally plays D every time down the court. He doesn’t just grab a chair and sit down and let the other team play 5 on 4.

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