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Report: Rockets not interested in trading James Harden to Nets ... unless it's for Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving

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The Houston Rockets don’t appear eager to send James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

The former MVP remains in a stand-off with Houston following his trade request, with the Nets his most talked-about potential destination. The Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat have also been mentioned as preferred destinations.

The latest from The Athletic’s Shams Charania indicates those latter three might have a better shot at the Rockets star:

The Rockets don’t have an urgency to move Harden and the franchise expects a mammoth package for the six-time All-NBA first team performer: along the lines of a young star and tremendous draft assets. Sources said the Rockets have no interest in a Nets offer, unless it would include either Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving.

So basically, the Rockets have no interest in a Nets offer. Or they’d at least prefer certain people to think that.

Who is willing to pony up for James Harden?

Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) argues a call during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
James Harden has four destinations in mind. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

It should go without saying that the Nets aren’t trading back Durant or Irving in a Harden trade. Even if the team was interested in trading away, say, Irving, the pair specifically signed with the Nets to play together, so they would probably want the approval of Durant to pull it off.

“I don't think about James Harden at all,” Durant said Wednesday. “I mean, he doesn't play on our team.”

As for the Sixers, The Athletic reports that the team want to see Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid play together under new head coach Doc Rivers and with new acquisitions like Danny Green, but a slow start could theoretically make it more amenable to a Simmons move.

Trading away Harden — a ball-dominant player clearly still valuable on a super-max contract — was always going to be tricky for Houston with the player dictating his destinations. We’ll see if anything changes in the camps of Harden, the Rockets or any of their possible trade partners.

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