The last few weeks have seen star guard James Harden engulf the Houston Rockets with uncertainty due to his trade desire. The Rockets have remained firm in their desire to keep Harden as the franchise cornerstone. In response to that, Harden has quietly made his intentions known through his latest actions.
James Harden’s dilemma in Houston
Since the Rockets’ disappointing departure from the 2020 playoffs, there have been concerning rumblings around the organization.
The issues have stemmed from star guard James Harden internally airing out his frustrations with the franchise. The chatter has shifted over to his trade desire to get a better chance to compete for an NBA title. Things have already considerably shifted with head coach Mike D’Antoni and longtime general manager Daryl Morey departing earlier this offseason.
The Rockets recently pulled the trigger on trading former league MVP Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a 2023 first-round pick after one season. Through all that, Harden’s standing with the Rockets remains on shaky ground as there is a sense that he still wants out.
Houston has already come out to publicly voice that they want to continue to push forward with him as the centerpiece. Matters have only moved in a perturbed manner as Harden has conducted another telling action that spells trouble for the Rockets.
James Harden is refusing to attend practice
With the 2020-21 season set to begin in the coming weeks, the league’s abbreviated training camps have opened up.
The focus has quickly shifted toward the Rockets’ situation with James Harden as he elected not to show up to the first team workouts. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, new head coach Stephen Silas aired some concerning comments about the matter as he voiced that the organization doesn’t know the “reason” why the star guard isn’t participating.
“He’s not here, and he has a reason, but that’s on him to tell whoever what the reason is.”
Harden’s absence turns heads because of the underlying message it sends to the Rockets. There isn’t any valid reason that would prevent him from attending team workouts, especially if there are possible photos of him at a club are legitimate.
The 31-year-old may not voice it publicly, but his actions prove that he has no desire to play with the franchise anymore. Houston is still all-in with him as their guiding force, but the feeling doesn’t look mutual. There is no indication about when or whether he will be back, but there isn’t much time from now until the Dec. 22 start date for next season.
Will Houston budge to the silent demand?
The Rockets are in a tight spot with James Harden attempting to force their hand before the 2020-21 season.
Harden’s actions give off the vibe that he is attempting every possible way away from media to bring forth a trade. He has spent the last several years trying to guide the franchise to an NBA title, but things haven’t equated to reaching that lofty goal.
Instead, the Rockets have stumbled in the playoffs, while their pairings of other stars alongside Harden haven’t worked out long-term. Houston has used this offseason utilizing their restricted means to improve the team around him, but that doesn’t appear to be enough in his eyes.
There isn’t any sense that the team will budge to Harden’s latest actions, but it brings them to an unstable point that could set forth massive change.