James Harden Trade Rumors: Rockets Star 'As Vocal as Possible' About Nets Deal

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 24, 2020

Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) argues a call during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

James Harden is reportedly not being shy about expressing his desire to be dealt to the Brooklyn Nets

Per Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated, Harden has been "as vocal as possible" about his trade request, but the Houston Rockets believe "they have the leverage in this situation."

Esnaashari noted the Rockets "weren't pleased" that Harden's trade request was leaked as early as it was. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Nov. 16 that the eight-time All-Star turned down a two-year, $103 million extension from Houston and "made it clear to ownership that he's singularly focused" on being traded to the Nets. 

Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne have reported the Rockets will demand a "monstrous return" from any team for Harden, including "players, draft picks and pick swaps."

The Rockets are entering a new era under first-year head coach Stephen Silas and general manager Rafael Stone. The team has little financial flexibility to improve its roster with $129.6 million in salary commitments for next season, per Spotrac.

Houston is still in a position to compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference with Harden and Russell Westbrook, but its ceiling appears limited, and it has plenty of competition for a top-eight seed. 

Harden could jump-start a Rockets reboot if they trade him. The 31-year-old is under contract for two more seasons and has a $47 million player option for 2022-23. He has led the NBA in scoring in each of the past three seasons, including 34.3 points per game in 2019-20. 

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