When it was announced that James Harden had formally requested a trade from the Houston Rockets, the news broke the internet. Harden, a former league MVP who deserves to have the scoring title named after him at this point, expressed his desire to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn to play for the Nets. The two teams reportedly even had a verbal trade agreement in place. Today The Athletic reported that the Rockets have no interest in a trade with the Nets that doesn’t include KD or Kyrie.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 10, 2020
Harden Expands His List
It is understandable to see why Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta isn’t willing to part ways with his franchise player without receiving one in return. The Nets creating a super team doesn’t benefit the Rockets at all. Fertitta’s unwillingness to do business with the Nets has led Harden to expand the list of teams that he would like to be traded to. According to Shams Charania Harden has added the Bucks, Heat, and 76ers to his list of preferred trade destinations.
Sources: James Harden now has the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat among his preferred trade destinations, along with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 10, 2020
Nets Have The Most To Offer Houston In A Harden Deal
It’s easy to see why Harden would like to play for any one of the teams on his list but the reality is the Nets can offer the best trade package for Harden. It is unlikely that the Sixers trade either of their young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for a 31-year-old James Harden. The Bucks are unlikely to trade reigning two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo even with the possibility of him entering free agency next summer.
Although the Heat have talented trade assets they are not as valuable as the pieces that the Nets have to offer. Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Goran Dragic are good but not as good as Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen. It is also unlikely that they make all-star Bam Adebayo available as they just signed him to a 5-year/ $163 million contract extension this offseason.
Rockets Not In A Rush To Move Harden
Harden watch has officially begun as the 2018 NBA MVP did report to the Rockets this week so it looks like he will at least be starting the season with Houston. The Rockets have made moves this summer as well, signing free agent big men Demarcus Cousins and Christian Wood and trading Russell Westbrook to the Wizards for all-star John Wall. Nobody knows if Harden will play the full season with the Rockets but it’s safe to say that Houston’s front office is in no rush to trade him as he is under contract with the team until at least 2023.