Rumor: Rockets comfortable keeping James Harden, Russell Westbrook despite trade desires
It looks like the Houston Rockets may be at an impasse with James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook demanded a trade last week. While Harden initially seemed to commit himself to the Rockets after Westbrook’s request, the script has flipped in recent days. The rumors now suggest Harden wants out as well, with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers representing his top desired trade spots.
However, the Rockets are apparently okay keeping both stars into the season:
Houston is fully comfortable keeping Harden and Russell Westbrook into the season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 16, 2020
This probably won’t end well for Houston, with the writing seemingly on the wall with these two stars. However, one thing that could change the minds of Harden and Westbrook is the Rockets getting another piece or two to give them a better chance in the playoffs this season. Of course, the Nuggets have Houston’s first-round pick this year, and the Rockets have little salary flexibility thanks to a handful of sizable deals. There was also quite a bit of discord among the team this past season.
Still, Houston might want to give this at least one more go with Harden and Westbrook together before a potential blow-it-up scenario. The Rockets would still project to be very good if they simply decided to run it back, and maybe there are some moves on the fringes that could help them out. Or perhaps Houston trades Westbrook and tries to keep Harden and sell him on a new-look future.
Either way, the Rockets have a tough road ahead with two disgruntled stars after the departures of Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey. New Rockets head coach Stephen Silas is walking into a powder keg of a situation, while Morey’s replacement in Rafael Stone will have to navigate these treacherous waters right after taking the job.
Houston, we definitely have a problem.
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