At the start of the 2020 NBA season, the starting shooting guard for the Houston Rockets will be … Well, feel free to let your imagination run wild with as many trade-machine fantasy scenarios as possible to answer that question.
“They’re making these stories up,” Durant told reporters at Nets media day via zoom on Tuesday. “I don’t know where that came from. James is a friend of mine. I heard all the noise and I heard that James potentially wanted to come to the Nets.”
KD on the rumors about him talking to James Harden about playing with the Nets: pic.twitter.com/lIcCQEVOqz
— Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) December 1, 2020
Yeah that all sounds good, Kev, but we’ve heard that story time and time again. You know the one, where NBA players act clueless about trade rumors and the rumors end up coming to fruition when it’s all said and done. However, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Rockets Have Been Disappointing
When you average 30-plus points in each of the last three seasons and your name comes up in trade talks, you’re going to be a major topic of discussion. This is the reality for Harden as it seems Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is looking to do a full detox on the franchise.
After shipping Clint Capela off to Atlanta at last season’s trade deadline to acquire Robert Covington from Minnesota, the Rockets fell short yet again this past postseason, losing to the Lakers in the conference semifinals.
This led to the Rockets making major moves including trading Covington to Portland and, most recently, a blockbuster trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Wizards in exchange for John Wall. The Rockets front office is clearly in rebuild mode and as a fan, you have to wonder if Harden is the next piece to be moved and to where.
Superteams Are Needed to Win in the NBA
Since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach in the summer of 2010, having a superteam is no longer a luxury in the NBA but a necessity, at least if you are looking to compete for a title.
Just look at some of the last teams to win titles: LeBron and Anthony Davis in LA; Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and, Kevin Durant in Golden State; and LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. All these teams have featured a collection of superstars who (at least on paper) looked unbeatable. Last month, it seemed the formation of yet another superteam was on the horizon as rumors circulated that Harden wanted to team up Irving and Durant in Brooklyn.
With training camps slated to open on December 11, Harden likely will start the season as a member of the Houston Rockets. What jersey will he be wearing after the trade deadline?
Well, that answer has the entire NBA in limbo. One person who couldn’t care less what happens with Harden’s situation in Houston is Durant, whose focus hasn’t changed since we last saw him on the basketball court in June of 2019.
“I let the front office handle all of that stuff,” Durant said. “I was just focused on working out.”
It will be interesting to see how the Nets respond this season with both of their stars coming off of major injuries, especially Durant, who has not seen in-game action for more than 18 months. Durant had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon in the summer of 2019, while Irving had shoulder surgery in March.
One thing is for sure, the Brooklyn Nets will definitely be must-see TV this season, with or without Harden.