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.