Russell Westbrook and James Harden both want out of the Houston Rockets but the team doesn’t have any kind of pressure or rush to move them, as they’ll be both under contract for the upcoming years and they have no incentive to just give them away.
And even though Harden is reportedly pushing for a deal to the Brooklyn Nets and the Nets are willing to do whatever it takes to land him, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated recently reported that Houston would only consider moving him if they find a deal for Westbrook first:
“Teams have been probing the Rockets about James Harden in recent days, though Houston has been reluctant to fully engage, per league sources. The Rockets will engage on Westbrook but interest for the All-Star guard has been lukewarm, at best,” Mannix started.
The report added that Westbrook isn’t drawing much interest around the trade market, as the New York Knicks don’t have him at the top of their list and the Charlotte Hornets already landed a building block in LaMelo Ball:
“Houston has sent signals that it is not looking to just dump Westbrook’s contract—he has three years and $132 million left on the deal—which has further eroded the market. The Knicks have not engaged—Westbrook is not a priority for New York, per league sources—while Charlotte, another potential landing spot, just drafted LaMelo Ball,” he added.
That’s why it’s unlikely that James Harden gets moved any time soon and any potential move could even have to wait until the start of the season:
“It’s unlikely Houston deals Harden without having a landing spot for Westbrook, which could prove exceedingly difficult,” the report concluded.
While keeping your two best players under protest doesn’t seem like the best idea and strategy for Stephen Silas and Tilman Fertitta, it doesn’t look like the Rockets are ready to just blow things up right away. But hey, anything can happen in the upcoming days or hours.