There have to be few clearer ways to know that someone doesn’t want to be with you than the fact that they refuse to charge more than 50 million a year so they can go elsewhere. James Harden (31 years old) came to the Houston Rockets in 2012 and, with him as a perennial MVP contender (he won the 2018 MVP) and as a great NBA gunner (Top Scorer the last three seasons), the Rockets have always been in the fight. It is the team that has been in the playoffs for the most consecutive seasons (all since it arrived, eight), but it has not been able to reach the Finals once. His background stops in two Conference finals, one with Dwight Howard as a squire and another with Chris Paul. In 2018, his year: 65 victories and 3-2 in favor at the end of the West against the almighty Warriors, with the seventh game at home and as a rival in the final, some Cavaliers very come down and with LeBron James very badly accompanied.
The Rockets didn’t win that last game. Chris Paul was injured and the Warriors had more character in that seventh game, in Texas, in which the Rockets connected 27 triples in a row missed. Later, the Bay men endorsed the Cavaliers 4-0 and took the ring. Water for the Rockets and for Harden, who did not achieve the big goal with either Dwight Howard, or Chris Paul or, last season, with Russell Westbrook (4-1 by the Lakers, without regard, in the second round). The creating and managing block of the project is gone: Daryl Morey now commands the Sixers ‘offices and Mike D’Antoni helps Steve Nash on the Nets’ bench. And Harden wants to go. After his bad experience with Westbrook, who came as his great friend since their years together in Oklahoma City Thunder, he does not want to continue in the Rockets, he considers that stage burned and he has been in a hurry: he wants to play with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in what would be atomic Nets … and complicated personalities.
And the Rockets are on track to give in. All the steps that are followed seem to go in that direction. Harden rejected a two-year, $ 103 million extension that would have allowed him to reach 36 years with a salary of more than 50 million a year., something unprecedented in the NBA so far. A more than obvious clue that it was clear to him. Later, the Rockets assured that they are not in a hurry with Harden or Westbrook (for which they do not receive good offers although this operation if they are willing to do it with pleasure) and that they were more than willing to start the season with both, even if they were angry. A way to strengthen your position in future negotiations, which will be inevitable. This is stated in the Briand Windhorst podcast (ESPN), another heavyweight on the television network, Tim MacMahon, who always handles good information from the Rockets: “What comes to me from the Rockets is that their ambition, His hope is no longer to redirect his relationship with Harden and get him to get involved with the project again. They have realized that they will not change their mind. He wants to leave, and they have assumed that they will have to and that this is the way things are in the NBA.
Mind you, Harden can’t expect the Rockets to bend to his wishes just because he’s hell-bent on playing for the Nets: “Just because James Harden wants to leave doesn’t mean he has the right to decide where, when and how he has to be traded. . Harden was the one who forced Chris Paul’s trade for Russell Westbrook before last season. The owner, Tillman Fertitta, also saw it well, but his big driver was Harden. That was no secret. Now he’s not going to be able to force the team and get a trade where the Rockets get 60 cents for every dollar.. He is a perennial candidate for MVP ”.
In addition, MacMahon gives clues as to what the Rockets are looking for … and what the problems of the Nets may be more than willing to throw the house out the window: “The Rockets are already beginning to think about the post-Harden reconstruction. What they are looking for is a young star, a player who can give new impetus to the franchise. And a batch of picks other than what the Bucks gave for Jrue Holiday (first three rounds and the right to exchange two more). The Nets want Harden at all costs, but Do you have this type of young player? Can you think that Caris LeVert is that? In any case, everything is picking up speed. The situation is very fluid ”.