James Harden continues to be stubborn as a mule. Even though the Houston Rockets improved this offseason by acquiring John Wall, Christian Wood, and DeMarcus Cousins, the 2018 MVP still wants to be traded by the franchise and won’t change his mind about his trade request.
The Rockets, who have done just about everything they can to appease Harden since acquiring the lefty from the Oklahoma City Thunder, have had enough of their superstar guard and are ready to move on from the Harden era. With the 2020-21 season set to start on Dec. 22, it seems unlikely that Houston can trade Harden and get a substantial haul in return before the regular season starts.
However, it’s become clearer and clearer that the Rockets are desperate to move James Harden and clean up their toxic culture.
James Harden has always gotten his way with the Rockets
The Rockets acquired James Harden from the Thunder before the start of the 2012-13 season. While Houston has made the playoffs every single season with Harden leading the way, the team has always had some dysfunction going on behind the scenes and never advanced to the NBA Finals.
During the 2015-16 season, the Rockets fired head coach Kevin McHale because Harden didn’t like playing for him. The three-time scoring champion also had a bad relationship with Dwight Howard and pushed the organization to part ways with the former Orlando Magic star in the summer of 2016, according to Bleacher Report.
In 2017-18, Harden won the MVP award with Chris Paul as his partner in crime. The Rockets got all the way to the conference finals but lost to the Golden State Warriors in seven games. Paul suffered a hamstring injury in Game 5 and wasn’t able to play in Games 6 and 7 after Houston took a 3-2 lead.
During the 2018-19 season, Harden and Paul butted heads a lot, so much so that The Beard made sure the Rockets traded CP3 in the offseason of 2019 for his childhood friend, Russell Westbrook. Whatever James Harden wants, Houston’s ownership has done since he’s one of the best scorers in NBA history.
James Harden has requested a trade a few times with the Rockets
James Harden has pushed the Rockets to upgrade the roster every offseason, saying he would want to be traded if they couldn’t contend for a title, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. If the Rockets didn’t move on from Kevin McHale, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul, Harden would have told the team to trade him, just like he has this season.
Since Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey are no longer in Houston, though, Harden may be sensing that his dictatorship of the Rockets is over. With that being said, the former Sixth Man of the Year is looking to get out of Clutch City as soon as possible so he can play for a franchise that will listen to his input. The Rockets hired Stephen Silas as D’Antoni’s replacement even though Harden wanted the team to get Tyronn Lue, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
While Silas and the Rockets obviously want James Harden to stay with the team since he’s an elite performer, it appears Houston is fed up with Harden’s antics and looking to trade the future Hall of Famer sooner rather than later.
Rockets are desperate to move The Beard
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Rockets want to trade James Harden “sooner than later” and are looking into a three-team trade scenario to make sure they get a big return for the eight-time All-Star. Harden has led the NBA in scoring the past three seasons and is one of the top players in the league.
The 31-year-old California native wants to get traded to the Brooklyn Nets or Philadelphia 76ers. The Rockets are under no obligation to trade Harden where he wants to go. Their job is to get the best return possible for the 11-year veteran.
Houston opens the 2020-21 season on Dec. 23 against the Thunder. The entire NBA world is waiting on pins and needles to see when James Harden is going to get traded and which team he’s playing for next.