Latest On James Harden, Rockets

The James Harden drama in Houston took another interesting step forward on Monday, as Rockets head coach Stephen Silas referred to the superstar’s ongoing absence from training camp as a “setback” for his club.

Despite an ESPN report indicating that Harden told Rockets management he’d be at camp soon, Silas told reporters that there was “no timetable” for the former MVP’s return, as far as he knew, and that he wasn’t sure of the specific reason for the absence.

“I have no clarity about the message,” Silas said, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “What the reasoning is, is on him. He’s the one who can explain why or why not he’s here. For me to make inferences and think about the possibilities isn’t real to me. What’s real is he’s not here, and he has a reason, but that’s on him to tell whoever what his reason is.”

Harden reportedly sought a trade during the offseason, so it’s reasonable to assume his delay in arriving to camp stems from his dissatisfaction with his situation, but he has yet to confirm that publicly or privately.

Sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic that Harden hasn’t told team officials that he doesn’t intend to suit up for the Rockets this season, and that the plan is still for him to eventually report and play. According to Amick, Harden’s absence doesn’t seem to “have been packaged with a clear message attached,” creating confusion about what he’s trying to accomplish.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN stated during an appearance on The Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe that the Rockets are “clinging to the hope” they can be a contender this year with Harden leading the way and hope to convince him that winning a championship in Houston is still realistic (link via RealGM). However, MacMahon – who reported last month that the Rockets are “willing to get uncomfortable” with Harden – notes that the star guard appears to be taking that as a challenge.

Here’s more on the Harden situation:

  • The Rockets’ stance on what they want in a Harden trade has remained unchanged, according to Amick, who says the team is still seeking an All-Star type player along with several other assets, including future first-round picks. The trade market “wasn’t responding to those demands” as of Monday, says Amick.
  • Some people around the NBA believe the league should step in on Harden’s apparent holdout rather than leaving it to the Rockets to escalate the situation with possible discipline, Zach Lowe said on his podcast (per RealGM). “This is going to become the latest referendum on player empowerment and when does it go too far?” Lowe said. “I think it’s a nuanced and fascinating topic. But it’s already spiraling out of control.”
  • As Brian Lewis of The New York Post relays, Harden’s mother Monja Willis – who has represented the Rockets star in business dealings – posted a message on Instagram saying that Harden is “doing what is best for his career” and that he’s simply looking “for a chance to get a ring.” While Willis didn’t confirm or deny Harden’s reported desire to be traded to Brooklyn, the implication is that he believes he has a better chance to win a championship with the Nets than the Rockets.
  • Speaking of the Nets, head coach Steve Nash and his players were asked during their media session Monday about the Harden situation, but they made it clear they’re trying not to think about the elephant in the room. “For us, for myself, I don’t really have anything to do with James Harden not going to practice. That doesn’t concern me,” Caris LeVert said, according to Lewis. “I’m focused on the team, the Nets, myself, trying to be the best I can be so that we can be better as a team. I don’t really focus on all of that stuff. That really has nothing to do with me.”
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36 thoughts on “Latest On James Harden, Rockets

  1. Chief Two Hands

    Yeah the Rockets are a mess. Couldn’t happen to a nicer fanbase.

  2. hiflew

    Alienating his employer and future potential employers by not showing up to work is not “doing what is best for his career.” Supposedly he was the one that pushed for Houston to acquire John Wall, so why is he still upset? If you want a ring so badly, go buy one with your tens of millions of dollars or play better in the playoffs.

  3. carlos15

    Sorry we’re not trading you, if you don’t want to play you don’t get paid and if you play poorly your value plummets and we still won’t trade you. NBA teams are so spineless.

    • I don’t know, I think that was pretty strong Language by Stephen Silas. He really didn’t back up James Harden at all but rather threw him under the bus and said, it’s on him I don’t know why he’s not here. Doesn’t bode well for the Rockets that’s for sure. Never want to make a trade during a fire sale.

  4. julyn82001

    How can it be some of these overpaid athletes can get away with such unprofessional demeanor? They signed a contract and then they don’t follow any rules but themselves’. Just frigging unbelievable…

    • El Don

      Actually players are more loyal than teams, if you see the couple times a year a player demands a trade compared with the hundreds of trades teams do every year (without asking players if they wanna be traded)… one must wonder why so called fans always back teams, specially bad ones against players, specially great ones like Harden!
      #FreeTheBeard

  5. caldo19

    Looks like the Aeros and Houston Wrestling are once again the best ticket in Houston.

  6. Appalachian_Outlaw

    What more does this dude want?! He basically runs the franchise, and gets paid handsomely to do so. I won’t deny he can play, but he’s a joke. You don’t win with a clown like this on your team because you can’t satisfy him. If I was the GM I’d say no trade, report whenever; we’ll just drain every dime we can from you while you sit out. Enjoy the expensive vacation.

  7. Curtisrowe

    Harden agreed to play basketball for 38M. So you know, play basketball maybe?

    What a tool.

  8. mike.honcho

    This thing is turning into a farce, really fast.

    A max contract is a two-way street- it not only shows the team’s commitment to the player, the player commits to the team as well.

    If rules allow and there are no viable trades, I’d have the ROCKETS sit Harden down and stop paying him. No play, no pay.

    When he does come around, I’d trade his as$ to the CAVS, where he can score 60 every game and they’d still lose.

  9. AshamedMethGoat

    Talented and selfish player playing for a trash organization. Match made in hell, really. They deserve each other.

  10. Appalachian_Outlaw

    So thinking about this, what if the league instituted a rule that if super max players wish to be traded they forfeit the 8% escalator in their contract? You could force them to file official requests with the league. In addition, they would have to repay any money they received from the escalator to that point if it’s a player requested trade.

    • Or…, don’t trade him. Don’t cave. Just play him.., you signed him so play him. You don’t have to trade anybody. If he sits out and whines it won’t be for long because the money will stop. He won’t get paid LOL.

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        I mean I’d agree except we all are well aware the league doesn’t have the stomach or the spine to stand up to these players. So best case, they negotiate something? I don’t know, but I can almost guarantee it ends with this crybaby going where he wants.

        • El Don

          Then if a team trades a player with a max, that doesn’t ask for a trade, the team doubles it salary to say 80-90M$ & the trading team that gets rid of him forfeits the next 3 first round picks, right?
          I mean if you wanna penalize the player for asking for the trade you must punish the team that wants to trade the player as well, right?
          You see it goes both ways, but at the end of the day no one pays to watch HOU or any other team, but all fans pay to watch Harden & the other stars, as simple as!
          That is why they get the big bucks, right?
          #FreeTheBeard

  11. GoLandCrabs

    Harden is a clown. Dude doesn’t perform when his team needs him most and now he doesn’t wanna even show up for camp? Anyone who thinks this man is a top 5 player is delusional.

  12. wright0525

    Remember when Kobe requested a trade, there was a deal lined up with the Pistons, which he couldn’t stop, but his tune changed quickly. There is an easy fix, trade him to a team that sucks.

  13. DrSeuss69

    Rockets should just trade Harden..perfect time since seasons dont matter as much since no fans…they start 2022 with a fresh team with alot of trade assets and can build around Wall..trade him to the Nets and if he fails there Houston fans get the last laugh

  14. RogerForTheHall

    EFF this guy! Let him sit all year. Deepest draft in years…#TankForCade

  15. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    Professional sports contract: A legal document agreed upon and signed in good faith by an athlete and a team. In reality, neither party generally has any intention of honoring the document.

    You’re welcome, Ambrose Bierce, for the update.

  16. julyn82001

    Harden also needs to shave that horrible beard LOL just utterly gross…

  17. harden (mvp),wall, and wood

    Only 33 comments? I will make it an even 34 since James Harden is easily the best player to suit up for the Rockets since #34, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon. Who else is even close to Harden and Hakeem, two of the greatest players in NBA history?

    Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady? Nope. They were both great when they were healthy, which they weren’t all that often with Houston. If the two of them could have stayed healthy during just one season together perhaps they might have won a championship. But they never even came close, not once. The fact is the only former Rockets player, besides Hakeem of course, that is even close to Harden in terms of greatness is Moses Malone.

  18. Pistol

    Harden owes the people of Houston his loyalty . If….. Cousins and Wall are themselves the Rockets have just as good a chance as anybody at the championship .

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