Report: Rockets reviewing Nets, Sixers offers for Harden originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
After another Houston Rockets blowout loss on Tuesday night, James Harden's postgame answers gave a clear signal that he longer wants to be in Houston. According to a report from The Athletic, the Rockets are now reviewing trade proposals from the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers to grant Harden his wish.
Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said Harden wasn't at practice Wednesday by the team's choice. "We felt that it was best for the group and best for James not to come to practice," Silas said.
The Nets are preparing a monumental package that features "all of their four future first-round picks and three future pick swaps," The Athletic reported.
Initially, the deal would seem akin to the one when the Nets mortgaged their future by sending a bevy of first-round picks to Boston for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. At 31 years old, though, the 2018 NBA MVP, Harden, surely has plenty more to offer an offense that also includes Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Until his return Tuesday, Durant had missed the last week of NBA action due to coronavirus protocols and Irving has been away from the team due to personal reasons.
Still, the Sixers possess the most intriguing trade piece to offer Houston with All-NBA point forward Ben Simmons. The lockdown defender has one of the most versatile skillsets in the league, and at age 24, he still has plenty of potential to improve his outside shot.
Philadelphia President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey left the Rockets this past offseason and his interest in bringing Harden along with him hasn't been a secret. On Dec. 28, the NBA fined Morey $50,000 for violating the league's anti-tampering rules. The fine was for a deleted and seemingly automated "On This Day" tweet congratulating Harden for reaching a Rockets franchise assist milestone.
While The Athletic also mentions Boston and Toronto having passing interest in trading for the disgruntled Rockets superstar, it's clear the Sixers and Nets remain favorites to get a deal done soon.
After starting the season averaging 37.0 points and 11.0 assists after the team's first three games, Harden has since struggled with a 37.8 field goal percentage for 17.4 ppg and 10.0 apg in the last five contests. Before Harden's stock can drop any lower, Houston appears keen to move him before he creates anymore distractions for the organization.
Harden's actions come as former longtime Wizards point guard John Wall continues to make his comeback to the NBA in Houston. Wall made sure to call Harden out Tuesday night, saying "when you have certain guys in the mix who don’t want to buy in all as one, it’s going to be hard to do anything good as a basketball team."
“I’ve been on those teams in my 11 years I’ve been in the league. I’ve been on teams like that in my first five years where it was all about ‘me, me, me, me,’ and not about the team, and that hurts and that brings everybody down," Wall said. "So if we get all on the same page, we can be something good here. But we can’t dwell down on it because it’s only been nine games. Like, come on man. You want to jump off the cliff off of nine games? There’s a lot of basketball still to be played.”