The Houston Rockets may be nearing the point of blowing things up after some valiant runs in the Western Conference in recent years and exhausting just about every resource to make a push at a championship, but never quite finding the right mixture. They’ve traded for Chris Paul, then later traded him for Russell Westbrook to try and find the right star fit next to James Harden, and at this past deadline they went all in on small ball to try and maximize their star backcourt.
In the end, they never got over the hump and with Westbrook reportedly requesting a trade out of Houston they have some serious decisions to make about their future. Westbrook isn’t likely to bring back a significant haul given his contract, and they’ll need to decide whether they think they can build a contender around Harden with what they get back or if it’s time to move on completely and enter a rebuilding phase. To this point, they’ve indicated they want to stick with their MVP and continue trying to push forward, but it’s possible that changes as this brief offseason wears on.
For Harden’s part, he’s indicated he wants to stay in Houston but even he seems to be thinking about the alternatives should that be needed. According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne, and Zach Lowe, Harden has begun at least crafting a potential list of destinations he’d be interested in should he get moved and reuniting with the other star from his time in OKC is near the top of that list in Brooklyn where he’d go play with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Sources: The Rockets continue to tell teams that they plan “run it back” with Harden this season. So far, there have been no trade discussions between the Rockets and Nets. https://t.co/wHrTqvCPew
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2020
As Woj goes on to note, this isn’t even in a “discussion” mode but is simply Harden indicating where he would have interest in going should things go to a rebuild in Houston. As we learned last year with the insistence of Houston that they weren’t going to trade Chris Paul up until they did, things can change quickly with the Rockets — albeit with a new GM and coach now — and Harden at least is giving his feedback on those possibilities should Houstons’ stance change.
What that would look like for the Nets is probably something in line with Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, and Taurean Prince (plus some picks) going to Houston as those three almost exactly match Harden’s salary. Again, that is miles down the road and likely never even happens, but the idea of Kyrie, Harden, and Durant sharing the floor is, if nothing else, fascinating in both its potential to be sensational and also a disaster.