Report: 'Rockets Wanted Nothing to Do' with Kyrie Irving in James Harden Trade

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New York. The Hawks won 114-96. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets got a major haul of draft picks and players in Wednesday's James Harden trade, but acquiring Kyrie Irving was reportedly not even a consideration, as ESPN's Tim MacMahon said on The Hoop Collective podcast.

"I know that the Rockets wanted nothing to do with Kyrie coming back in this deal," MacMahon said (h/t RealGM). "Basically, their point was 'OK, we're going to trade really one unhappy superstar for an even unhappier star who is not as good?' If Kyrie gets traded somewhere he doesn't want to be, I don't know if he's even going to report.'"

Brian Windhorst added that some front-office personnel think the Nets would be able to trade Irving for two first-round picks, while others think you could only attach him as a filler in a larger package.

The point guard has been out the past five games for personal reasons and is not expected to report this week, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews.

Houston instead acquired four first-round draft picks and four pick swaps plus Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs.

MacMahon previously reported the Rockets told teams they wanted a "young franchise cornerstone" as part of a trade.

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According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the organization was seeking a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers to bring back Ben Simmons and Tyrese Maxey.

Irving could have qualified as someone to build around based on his on-court play, earning six All-Star selections. The 28-year-old won an NBA title alongside LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has continued to raise his production, including an average of 27.3 points per game across two seasons with the Nets.

However, the Rockets didn't want to add more question marks to the roster after dealing away Harden.

The team opted for the draft capital, which could lead to a longer rebuild but will allow the front office to hand pick the future of the organization.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn will have an exciting trio of Harden, Kevin Durant and Irving, assuming the latter returns to the team.