The Houston Rockets are “just not good enough.” Or that’s at least what embattled superstar James Harden believes. Following a 17-point defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, the Rockets now own the second-to-worst record in the West. And by the sound of it, the eight-time All-Star doesn’t see room for much improvement on the horizon.
“We’re just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise. And it was clear these last two games,” Harden said, after dropping his second consecutive game to the Lakers. “I love this city. I’ve literally done everything I can. This situation is crazy. I don’t think it can be fixed. Thanks.”
As you could expect, Harden’s comments opened the floodgates to trade chatter across the NBA landscape. However, NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell, believes that we’d be better off zeroing in a specific region as Harden’s most likely landing spot.
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James Harden Heading East?
The Boston Celtics have been long linked to Harden ever since rumblings of his desire to jettison Houston emerged this offseason. That once-mumbled chatter strengthened upon word of Harden reportedly adding Boston to his list of “preferred destinations,” as well as the Celtics engaging in a courtesy call with the Rockets.
The addition of Harden, one of the league’s all-time scorers, would be intriguing to any team. Yet, Jaylen Brown’s sudden jump from extremely good second option to, dare I say, bonafide star, has left many to question whether Boston would be best served to stick with their current roster construction.
The thing is, should the Celtics ax any consideration of a Harden deal, they’d very well, in a roundabout way, help usher his services to a fellow Eastern Conference foe, as noted by Hartwell:
One more factor for the Celtics to consider: The Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors reportedly are also in the mix, so if Harden doesn’t come to Boston, it’s likely he’ll land on one of the Celtics’ primary contenders.
That’s a lot for Danny Ainge to chew on, but it sure looks like Harden is headed East one way or the other.
Hartwell’s sentiment certainly has its supporters, namely those in Vegas. Current betting odds for Harden’s future team include each of the team’s Hartwell mentioned above as top-five landing spots for the former league MVP.
Houston to Sit Harden Until Trade Suitor Emerges?
According to ESPN First Take co-host Stephen A. Smith, the relationship between Harden and the Rockets looks to be nearly unsalvageable.
“From what I’m being told, the Houston Rockets are strongly considering granting James Harden his request to let him sit out and not be with the team anymore until they’re able to move him,” Smith said on Wednesday’s episode, adding that the Sixers and Nets are his preferred top-two choices.
“They haven’t made that decision yet, maybe they have made it within the hour, or maybe they’ll make it sometime today or tomorrow,” he said. “But the situation has regressed to such a degree that as of right now the Houston Rockets are contemplating as to whether or not they’re going to let James Harden just stay home until they find a suitable trade in order to move him out of there.”
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