“The Beard,” who, just one year ago, made a four-year, $171 million commitment to Houston, is too busy zeroing in on potential trade suitors, for the Rockets. Reluctant to report to training camp, Harden has reportedly extended his list from beyond the Brooklyn Nets – James’ first-choice.
Now, sources tell ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski that Harden is open to a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers or possibly other contenders.
Sources Close To James Harden Tell ESPN: ‘He Would Be Agreeable If A Trade With The 76ers Materialized’
“After it was clear there was no traction in talks with the Nets, Harden expressed to the Rockets that he would be agreeable if a trade with the 76ers materialized,” sources told ESPN. “Harden also indicated that other teams could fit his criteria for a preferred destination, a source said.”
However, Philadelphia is adamant about keeping its dynamic duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons intact, which makes a Harden trade between the Rockets and Sixers less likely.
“The Rockets and the Sixers have had no substantive talks about a potential Harden deal,” sources told ESPN. “New Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ general manager for the previous 13 seasons, has said he has no intention to break up the Sixers’ All-Star duo of center Joel Embiid and guard/forward Ben Simmons.”
Houston Rockets’ Asking Price For James Harden: ‘A Young Franchise Cornerstone And A Bundle Of First-Round Picks’
According to ESPN sources, Harden’s price tag may be too steep for Philly.
“Houston hasn’t wavered in what the Rockets consider a fair asking price for Harden: a package that includes a young franchise cornerstone and a bundle of first-round picks and/or talented players on rookie contracts,” sources told ESPN.
“The Rockets have been adamant that they will not be rushed into trading Harden, regardless of how uncomfortable the situation has become with the three-time scoring champion failing to report to training camp while partying in Atlanta and Las Vegas.”
With the start of the NBA regular season two weeks away, the Rockets don’t have a whole lot of time to move Harden before Opening Night. Harden, who hasn’t indicated any plans of rejoining his teammates, could wind up missing the start of the season if this isn’t resolved within the next week, or so.
Breaking Update: James Harden Shows Up To Houston Rockets Training Camp
ESPN’s Woj reported Tuesday afternoon that Harden is in Houston with the Rockets and tested in accordance with the NBA’s protocol.
Rockets’ new head coach Stephen Silas reacted to the news when he spoke to the media Tuesday.
Coach Silas says he’s aware that James Harden had his test today in Houston.
“Him getting tested in Houston is good for everybody.”
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) December 8, 2020
The Rockets will travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls Friday in their first preseason tuneup. There’s been no word if Harden plans to travel with his teammates.