Shortly after Houston traded Russell Westbrook to Washington on Wednesday night, Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported that the Rockets‘ stance on James Harden hadn’t changed and that they didn’t envision a scenario where he’d be traded before opening night.
Following up on that report, Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link) asked a Rockets source if the club is done making offseason moves.
“Yes, we are done!” that source replied. “Can’t always say for sure but that’s the plan.”
While the Rockets are seemingly intent on keeping Harden for the time being, John Hollinger of The Athletic believes it’s just a matter of time before they’ll have to make a deal. Hollinger believes the Rockets will likely attempt to duck the luxury tax again this season, further weakening the roster in the process, and says teams around the league are waiting to see if Houston gets serious about moving Harden during the season or in the 2021 offseason.
Here’s more out of Houston:
- Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up (video link) this morning, Adrian Wojnarowski said that Harden “had a preference of John Wall over Westbrook.” While that may be the case, it’s worth noting that a year ago we heard that Harden’s preference was Westbrook over Chris Paul, and that didn’t work out great.
- In the wake of the Westbrook trade, Zach Lowe of ESPN explained on his Lowe Post podcast that the market for the former MVP was virtually nonexistent outside of Washington’s offer. “The Clippers were not interested,” Lowe said, per RealGM. “The Knicks were not interested unless they were incentivized. I don’t know where the Hornets noise came from — maybe it was credible. All I can say is, from the people I know there, I never heard they were interested. There was, to my knowledge, nothing.”
- The Rockets’ decision-makers don’t believe that the trade for Wall alters the “suddenly strained dynamic” between Harden and the team, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Insider link).
- New Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said today that he expects to have his full roster available when practices begin on Sunday, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. If Silas is right, that suggests that no Rockets were among the 48 players who recently tested positive for COVID-19.