Where there is smoke, there’s fire. In the case of James Harden, the night club is the smoke, and not showing up to a team workout is the fire. While speculation rises, the Rockets’ latest duel with their franchise player keeps the rumor mill alive. On Tuesday, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Harden informed the Rockets he would be open to a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers or possibly other contending NBA teams.
According to MacMahon and Wojnarowski, “the Rockets and the Sixers have had no substantive talks about a potential Harden deal,” for now. The chalk is dry between the two franchises.
Front offices have a tendency to say one thing and do another, though, so don’t count out the Rockets and 76ers as partners in a Harden trade. When it comes to player movement, the NBA’s fickle nature implies Harden’s departure from Houston as imminent.
While John Wall, whom the Rockets recently acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards, made himself available for Zoom media availability, franchise star Harden had yet to return to Rockets’ headquarters as of Tuesday morning. Harden’s commitment to the franchise seems to be in question, as indicated by Paul Silas’ retort when questioned about Harden’s intentions.
Stephen Silas on James Harden's commitment to the Rockets: "That's a question you're going to have to ask him when he gets here."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 6, 2020
Harden’s interest in reuniting with Morey breathes life into a heavily speculated trade destination. Also, as Houston expects a huge return in any trade for a former league MVP, the 76ers can likely offer the best package at the moment.