After Westbrook trade, Rockets still have no plans to move Harden

Ben DuBose
·2 min read

Despite fulfilling the trade request of co-star Russell Westbrook with a deal sending him to Washington, the Houston Rockets are not anticipating giving James Harden his desired trade to Brooklyn.

After Wednesday night’s blockbuster, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon wrote:

Rockets source: Stance on James Harden has not changed. Houston hopes to be competitive with him this season and does not envision a scenario where Harden would be traded before the opener.

Houston understood that the demand for Russell Westbrook was limited and was willing to settle for the protected first-round pick along with John Wall. The Rockets want a king’s ransom (young franchise cornerstone plus Jrue [Holiday]-esque picks package) in any potential Harden deal.

Assuming new trade acquisition John Wall is healthy, Houston should still have a capable squad in 2020-21 with Harden, Wall, Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins, and most of the supporting cast of a group that finished No. 4 in the Western Conference a season ago.

With Harden under contract for at least two more seasons, there’s no reason for the Rockets to make a hasty decision on his future. It seems as if the plan is to see how the new-look group plays on the court, and if things don’t go as desired, a potential Harden transaction could be revisited at the 2021 trade deadline or in the following offseason.

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