NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on James Harden Trade, George Hill, More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IDecember 12, 2020

NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on James Harden Trade, George Hill, More

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Another week of this unorthodox NBA offseason has passed, and James Harden is still a member of the Houston Rockets. But rumors continue to circulate about whether that will be the case when the 2020-21 campaign gets underway.

    It's been an eventful offseason for Houston, which traded point guard Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards on Dec. 2 after only one season with the team. In exchange, Houston received point guard John Wall, who had 13 points, nine assists, five rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes in the Rockets' preseason opener on Friday night (a 125-104 win over the Chicago Bulls).

    Will Harden be joining Wall in Houston's backcourt soon, or will the former NBA MVP's time with the Rockets come to an end after eight seasons? That's the hottest topic as the league's Dec. 22 start date approaches.

    Here's some of the latest buzz from around the NBA, including more on Harden's situation.

Latest on Potential Harden Trade

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Earlier this offseason, it was rumored that Harden wanted to get traded to the Brooklyn Nets and that if he were dealt, they would be the most likely landing spot. However, that may no longer be the case.

    According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Philadelphia 76ers are the "most likely destination" for Harden when the Rockets "reach the point" of trading him, per league sources. It doesn't come as too much of a surprise, as ESPN's Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported that Harden was open to getting dealt to several contenders, including Philadelphia.

    However, there may not be any imminent discussions between the Rockets and 76ers.

    "The Rockets insist (for now) they will not trade Harden," Stein tweeted. "The Sixers insist (for now) they will not trade Ben Simmons. But sources say the familiarity between the front offices can ultimately defuse any lingering tension from Daryl Morey's departure from Houston to Philadelphia."

    Things could change, though. And with Harden reportedly expressing interest in being traded earlier this offseason, it wouldn't be a shock to see the 31-year-old guard get moved. For now, he's in Rockets training camp (after arriving late) and getting ready for the new season—no matter where he ends up spending it.

Hill Garnering Trade Interest Ahead of Season

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    Kim Klement/Associated Press

    Veteran point guard George Hill is preparing to enter his first season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He might not still be with them when the 2020-21 campaign is over, though.

    The Athletic's Shams Charania recently reported that while Hill is expected to begin the season on Oklahoma City's roster, there's "also interest in Hill’s services around the league." So if the Thunder receive an enticing offer for the 12-year NBA veteran, perhaps they would consider trading him.

    Hill was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in December 2018 and was with them through the end of last season. In 59 games in 2019-20, he averaged 9.4 points, 3.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds per contest, and he shot an NBA-high 46 percent from three-point range.

    The Thunder acquired Hill in November in a four-team trade that also included the Bucks, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans, a deal that most notably featured Jrue Holiday going to Milwaukee and Steven Adams heading to New Orleans.

    Hill isn't the only veteran on Oklahoma City's roster who is garnering trade interest. Charania also reported that forward Trevor Ariza (who is also expected to be on the Thunder's roster to start the season) is being monitored by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Teams Expected to Pursue Hezonja

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    On Friday, the Memphis Grizzlies announced that they waived forward Mario Hezonja, who was traded to the team from the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 20 in a three-team deal that also included the Boston Celtics. So after only three weeks with the Grizzlies, Hezonja is free to sign with a new team.

    And it may not take too long for that to happen. Charania reported that "multiple teams are expected to express interest after training camp ends."

    The 25-year-old was taken by the Orlando Magic with the No. 5 overall selection in 2015. Hezonja hasn't quite lived up to expectations since arriving in the NBA. After three seasons with the Magic, he spent one with the New York Knicks before signing with the Trail Blazers last offseason. He averaged 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 53 games this past season.

    Once Hezonja ends up with a new team, perhaps he will get an opportunity to play a key role. And because he's still young, he could end up becoming a bigger contributor in the league.

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