At the beginning of the 2020-2021 NBA season, it seemed like a James Harden trade to the Brooklyn Nets was all but a done deal. The Nets had everything in place to complete the trade. Draft picks, young talent, and most importantly Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. The Rockets also seemed to be in rebuilding mode shipping off Russell Westbrook off to Washington for John Wall so most figured that Harden had to be next. Those trade rumors slowed down once Harden showed up for training camp but Harden’s comments to the media after Tuesday’s loss to the Lakers have those rumors picking right back up.
Harden Has Lost Faith in Houston
“We’re just not good enough,” Harden told reporters over Zoom after a second straight loss to the defending champion Lakers. “Chemistry, talent-wise, just everything, and it was clear these last few games.” The Rockets have a 3-6 record and are in 14th place in the Western Conference. “I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can,” Harden added. “This situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
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What was supposed to be a routine press conference sounded more like a farewell speech from the 2018 Most Valuable Player. This was confirmed by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Wednesday’s episode of First Take. “He wants to go to Philly, that would be his number one preference,” Smith said on Wednesday. “With Brooklyn as his number two option.” Stephen A. also mentioned the Rockets would consider the idea of letting Harden sit out until they’re able to find a feasible trade partner to move him.
John Wall Not Happy With Harden
Rockets guard John Wall who Houston acquired after trading away Russell Westbrook to the Wizards also weighed in on the situation. He didn’t seem too happy about Harden’s attitude coming into the season. “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 after nine games? There’s a lot of basketball still to be played,” Wall told reporters after the loss to the Lakers.
Wall Wants the Rockets To Buy In
“I told the guys before when the 1-through-15 guys all on the same page and they commit and they know their role and they know what they want to do and they know what they want to get out of this, and that’s to win, you all will be fine,” Wall continued. “But when you have certain guys in the mix that don’t want to buy-in all as one, it’s going to be hard to do anything special or do anything good as a basketball team.”
Harden did not attend Rockets practice on Wednesday according to Head Coach Stephen Silas. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Houston’s front office is sifting through trade offers from the Sixers and Nets and a trade is expected to happen sooner rather than later.