(via USA Today)

It’s never easy trading your franchise star but for the Houston Rockets, it must be especially painful.

After eight years enjoying the fruit of James Harden’s talents, it seems their Championship window has finally closed shut — and Harden has opted for the door.

After initial reports indicated the Rockets were making an attempt to earn back Harden’s trust, a new report by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon says they’re officially throwing in the towel.

“The sense I get from the Rockets is that their ambition, their goal, their hope is no longer about salvaging the relationship with James Harden and kind of getting him on board,” MacMahon said on the Brian Windhorst Podcast, via Real GM.

There’s a realization, you know, his mind is made up. He wants out and there is a determination to say ‘Okay, we get it. This happens in the NBA.’ But just because James Harden wants out doesn’t mean he gets to dictate where and for what [he’s traded].”

Harden wants a trade to Brooklyn, but MacMahon’s statement indicates the Rockets feel no obligation to honor that request if they feel they can land a better deal with another team.

Besides Brooklyn, Harden has been linked to the Sixers, Celtics, and Bulls.

Needless to say, the price will be high for the 8x All-Star and former NBA MVP and it will be interesting to see which team is willing to pay.