Well, that escalated quickly. According to Shams Charania, James Harden did not attend practice with the Houston Rockets today, and the team has escalated trade talks, with both the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers emerging as the lead contenders.
After last night’s post-game press conference debacle, the Rockets appear to have deemed the situation un-salvageable, and two teams that were initially in the trade rumors when the news broke weeks ago are back in the driver’s seat.
Brooklyn is reportedly offering every available pick to Houston, which would include four first-rounders and three pick swaps, though it’s currently not yet determined what players would be coming back to the Rockets.
With the 76ers, the Rockets would be after Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, and at least one first-round pick, but it’s being speculated that former Rockets GM and current Sixers GM Daryl Morey might be willing to play some hardball and not include anyone other than Simmons and is also reportedly after P.J. Tucker in the deal. Though with Brooklyn making a seven-pick offer, he may have to break out all the stops in order to bring The Beard to The City of Brotherly Love.
The Rockets are pursuing a trade package from the 76ers that would be headlined by Ben Simmons and Tyrese Maxey, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 13, 2021
Houston is increasingly determined to complete a James Harden trade as soon as today, league sources say, and has chased the promising Maxey in addition to Simmons— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 13, 2021
Philly is known to covet Houston's PJ Tucker in addition to Harden while the Nets have also remained in pursuit
Potential names from Brooklyn that were in the rumor mill earlier this year include Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen, though Dinwiddie is currently out for the season. The Nets also have a situation right now with Kyrie Irving, though no word yet if he will be involved with trade talks.
Whatever route Houston GM Rafael Stone goes, it appears the James Harden era is coming to an end in Houston.
What deal do you prefer?
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Philly (Simmons, Maxey, Pick, possible P.J. Tucker inclusion)
Brooklyn (4 first-rounders, 3 pick swaps, + Players TBD)