There has been a lot of speculation regarding James Harden’s future lately. It goes without saying that he’s one of the greatest scorers to ever do it but after the Houston Rockets once again failed to go the distance, where do they go from here?
The Rockets traded a lot of assets to absorb Russell Westbrook’s astronomically high contract. It didn’t work out. They gave up on traditional basketball and traded away their franchise center. It didn’t work out either. Mike D’Antoni left the organization, and people aren’t sure about Daryl Morey having a job next season.
But if Chris Paul couldn’t help, if Russell Westbrook couldn’t help, maybe the problem starts and finish with James Harden. Then again, an Eastern Conference executive recently told HoopsHype that they’d only trade him for Luka Doncic or Jayson Tatum:
“I wouldn’t move Harden. He’s still so good, and they’re too old right now to just start a rebuild unless you’re getting a Jayson Tatum or Luka Doncic to rebuild around. I’d probably run it back in some shape or form, especially with next year being a compressed time period. I would keep all options open, but I wouldn’t be selling Harden just to the highest bidder. In the last two years, they easily could have won it all, so I don’t think it’s fair to panic yet if they lose. Now, if there’s a great deal out there, that’s a different story, but I still think it’s worth riding out one more year. If Westbrook is tradable, get it done,” the executive said.
Needless to say, we just don’t see any of these trades happening any time soon. Contracts aside, there’s just no incentive for the Boston Celtics or Dallas Mavericks to move on from their generational talents on a player who’s already 31-years old and has struggled in the playoffs.
It seems like the Rockets are ‘tied’ to Harden for the long run and while that may not be a bad thing – he’s making a case for being one of the top 2 players in franchise history – they’re going to have to figure things out before it’s too late.