Since being eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals, rumors have been continuously swirling around All-Star shooting guard James Harden and his future with the Houston Rockets. Despite the team’s desire to run it back again in the 2020-21 NBA season, it seems like “The Beard” is no longer interested in being the face of the franchise. As the 2020 offseason goes deeper, there is growing speculation that the former MVP wants to find his way out of Houston this fall.
As of now, Harden remains an official member of the Rockets’ roster, but many people believe that he will be leaving Houston soon. In a recent appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio, ESPN analyst Amin Elhassan discussed Harden’s current situation in Houston. Despite the recent acquisitions of Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins, Elhassan still thinks that “The Beard” won’t be a Rocket “for much longer.”
“I’ve heard similar things. I’ve honestly heard similar things about Harden specifically. Not perhaps being a Houston Rocket for much longer,” Elhassan said, as quoted by Anthony Duckett of Fansided’s Space City Scoop. “I think Houston has an opportunity, at least on the Harden side of things, to get tremendous value back. This is a guy who’s been top five in MVP voting for five consecutive years pretty much. You’re going to get value for him. If you don’t, your front office might be on the chopping block.”
The Rockets are in no rush to trade Harden. He is under contract with the team until the 2022-23 NBA season. However, if Harden continues to express unhappiness with the team and a desire to leave, the Rockets could be left with no choice but to find him a new home instead of dealing with an entire season of drama and distractions.
Unlike with Russell Westbrook, the Rockets aren’t expected to have a hard time finding a trade partner willing to pay their asking price for Harden. Though he’s yet to carry the team to the NBA Finals, Harden is currently considered one of the best active players in the league. He would be an incredible addition to title contenders that are in dire need of a backcourt boost and additional star power to have a better chance of capturing the Larry O’Brien Trophy next year.
In recent months, several teams have already expressed a strong interest in adding “The Beard” to their roster. These include the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics.