As the 2020-21 NBA season draws closer, rumors surrounding All-Star shooting guard James Harden and his future with the Houston Rockets continue to heat up. When he initially expressed his desire to leave, the Rockets were hesitant to move “The Beard,” hoping that they could still do something to convince him to stay in Space City. However, as of now, it seems like Houston is already determined to trade the face of the franchise.
In a recent appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, Adrian Wojnarowski gave a major update regarding Harden’s current situation in Houston, as can be seen here. Wojnarowski revealed that the Rockets are starting to gather more interests from Eastern and Western Conference teams who’d be willing to trade for Harden even without receiving an assurance that he intends to stay long-term. He added that Houston wants to move Harden “sooner than later” and is currently searching for a third team that would help them facilitate a blockbuster deal.
“Houston would like to get this done sooner than later,” Wojnarowski said, as quoted by CBS Sports. “This is a pall over the entire organization, their new head coach Stephen Silas as he tries to implement his program there. They’ve got to find the right deal. This is too important for the organization long-term. They have a checklist of what they would like in a deal. You don’t always get everything you want in one of these trades, but they’ve got to really maximize value. And that’s going to be a really good young player, and draft picks at the very least.”
Though they wanted to move Harden as soon as possible, the Rockets still haven’t lowered their asking price for the All-Star shooting guard. In order to convince them to move the former MVP, potential suitors might have to come up with an offer that includes an All-Star caliber player, young prospects, and multiple future first-round picks.
In the past months, several title contenders have already expressed interest in adding Harden to their roster, including his top two preferred landing spots — the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. However, none of them seemed to be willing to meet Houston’s demands. Recently, reports circulated that the Sixers have already shown willingness to include Ben Simmons in the trade package that they would offer for Harden.
Simmons fits the description of an All-Star and the Sixers have young prospects and future first-rounders to sweeten the deal. However, a few moments after the rumors about Simmons spread, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey strongly denied that they are trading the former No. 1 overall pick, saying that he’s an important part of their future.