James Harden Trade Rumors: Houston Rockets Better Served Dealing Harden Before NBA Trade Deadline?

James Harden trade rumors have surfaced to go along with the struggles of the Houston Rockets. These Harden trade rumors probably stem from an article posted on ESPN.com, underlining Harden as one of the problems with the Rockets. NBA analyst Kevin Pelton went as far as stating, “there is something rotten in Houston,” as he profiled four trades that the Rockets could make. While there has been no confirmation that the front office in Houston is even considering a Harden trade, it has provided a lot of discussion points for NBA fans.

Chemistry seems to be a big problem with the Rockets, possibly predicting that the team could make changes before the NBA trade deadline. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the front office in Houston is already figuring out what teams will offer for center Dwight Howard. Howard can opt out of his current contract and become a free agent at the end of the 2015-16 NBA season. This could force the Rockets to deal him, rather than lose him for nothing in return. It’s a mistake that the LA Lakers made after acquiring Howard from the Orlando Magic.

Regarding the James Harden trade rumors, the All-Star shooting guard is having another great offensive season for the Rockets. Through 55 games this season, Harden is averaging 28.0 points, 7 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. If the Rockets were actually in contention, Harden might even be in the conversation for the NBA MVP Award. As it is, though, the Rockets are in serious risk of missing the 2016 NBA Playoffs after a rough first half to the season.

James Harden Cooking [Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]At the break, the Houston Rockets have a 27-28 record and are the ninth place team in the Western Conference. The team has lost three games in a row, including two to the seventh-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. NBA analysts are calling this a “free fall” and it doesn’t appear that the team (as constructed) is ready to pull out of the dip. That could force the front office to make several deals before the NBA trade deadline hits on February 18. Could it be that a James Harden trade could fix all the issues?

The Rockets owe more than $86 million in salaries for the current NBA season and are on the hook for just over $77 million next year. That number could dip if Dwight Howard decides to opt out of his deal, but Jason Terry, Marcus Thornton, and Josh Smith are also free agents as well. One possible solution for the team is to deal Howard now, gain more draft picks for the offseason, and keep the rest of the roster intact. It would require attaining someone who can play center next year, though.

While the premise of a James Harden trade could certainly be a big deal around the NBA, the front office has to decide if it is worth completely rebuilding the roster in that fashion. Just because ESPN.com has floated trade scenarios involving Harden doesn’t mean he is going to get dealt, but the Rockets are also in a unique position. The Rockets could decide to part ways with Harden, Dwight Howard, and Trevor Ariza before the NBA trade deadline. The trio of players could bring back several possible lottery picks to allow for a complete rebuild of the franchise.

James Harden Grimmace [Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]Can the Houston Rockets find a way to add pieces and make a strong run at the 2016 NBA Playoffs? Should the team deal Dwight Howard before free agency hits? And, can a James Harden trade be considered in the short-term plan? These are all very important questions that the brass in Houston will have to consider.

[Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]