Despite much uncertainty regarding the future of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, one Rockets insider believes we have not yet seen the end of their run together as teammates. In an appearance on the Pushin’ Thru/Athletes Unfiltered podcast, Jonathan Fagen explained why there is still a future for the infamous Rockets duo:
“The blow it up and start over thing is not for this offseason. And the reason I feel fairly certain about that is they’re certainly keeping James Harden informed and getting his input on coaching, discussions and considerations. You wouldn’t involve him if you’re planning to send them off somewhere.” Feigen said.
The Rockets seem to be keeping an open line of communication with Harden, not behavior indicative of waving the white flag.
Unfortunately, Houston's identity as a franchise is in jeopardy at the moment following the departure of Mike D'Antoni and long-time GM Daryl Morey. As they consider their next steps moving forward, it's looking like both Russ and Harden will remain a part of their long-term plans -- at least for now.
On one hand, the duo set a scoring record for most points by a scoring pair since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, with an average of 61.7 points per game. On the other hand, the fit between the stars has been a major area of doubt.
“It doesn’t look like a good fit, does it?" said one executive earlier this month." Russell Westbrook and James Harden? Where is that team going anyways? Too much unsettled stuff within a franchise."
Needless to say, the Rockets will have their work cut out for them if they want to get any closer to winning a title within the next few years. With many believing their Championship window has already closed, they have a lot to prove in the 2020-21 campaign, and it will be up to Harden and Westbrook to get it done.