UPDATE: Nov. 15, 5:02 p.m. — As rumors swirl about Westbrook and Harden, the Brooklyn Nets have emerged as a potential trade destination for Harden, per Wojnarowski. Woj says that the idea of playing with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn is becoming increasingly enticing.
ESPN Sources with @RamonaShelburne and @ZachLowe_NBA: As Houston’s James Harden considers his future with franchise, one possible trade destination is rising to top of his list: Brooklyn. The idea of reuniting with Kevin Durant and joining Kyrie Irving is resonating with Harden.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2020
It’s hard to envision a deal like this materializing and it seems like a third team would probably need to get involved. The Nets already have max deals for Durant and Irving on the books. Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert are both signed long-term, albeit on a pretty team-friendly contracts. The Nets would need to shed DeAndre Jordan’s contract, which wouldn’t be easy. He has three years left at around $10 million per season. The Nets also have Jarrett Allen with one year left on his contract and in need of an extension.
So the Nets could opt to strip down the roster a bit to fit in Durant, Harden and Irving. It would certainly make things more interesting in the East. The Nets are already viewed as title contenders if KD can come back 100 percent. With all three All-Stars on the same team, defense would find it almost impossible to stop them. It also could be a “too many cooks in the kitchen” type of scenario. Three alpha dogs, three of the top 20 best players in the NBA trying to split touches.
UPDATE: Nov. 11, 7:29 p.m. — Harden remains committed to the Rockets for this season, per Shams Charania, who just reported that Westbrook wants out of Houston. So there’s that.
Houston's James Harden remains committed to the Rockets and is "locked in" for the season, sources tell @KellyIkoNBA and me.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 12, 2020
Houston Rockets All-Star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook are both concerned about the future of the team following the departure of coach Mike D’Antoni and GM Daryl Morey this offseason, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon reported early Wednesday morning.
Both D’Antoni and Morey left the franchise after another playoff exit for the Rockets. Houston had just traded for Westbrook this past offseason, which seems ages ago. In the first season with Russ, the Rockets showed signs of promise but ultimately fell well short of their goal of reaching the NBA Finals. As a result, the Rockets promoted Rafael Stone to general manager and hired Stephen Silas as head coach.
To be very clear, neither player has requested a trade. The report states that Harden and Westbrook have had their representatives contact the Rockets about concerns moving forward. So this would be sort of Step 1 in a long process which could lead to Harden and/or Westbrook requesting a trade. It’s the NBA. We see this all the time, especially with star players. It’s one of the beauties and downfalls of the League. The power star players possess.
The part that should give the Rockets the most panic is that we’ve seen Harden in reports before this offseason. There was a rumor going around that Morey and his new team the Philadelphia 76ers would pursue Harden this offseason, though Houston wasn’t going to be interested. Well, should the Rockets be interested in a trade now? It’s sort of looking that way.
Both Harden and Westbrook are making the super max — The Beard is owed $40 million next season and Russ will make $41 million. Both players have three years left on their contract with a player option in the final year. These contracts aren’t easy to move but All-Star guards don’t grow on trees. I mean, you could argue that Harden is the best scorer of our generation. Both players have won MVP awards in the past decade. It would be unprecedented if one or both were traded from the same team. It could tear a fissure through the landscape of the NBA this offseason.