It is no secret that all is not well with James Harden and the Houston Rockets at the moment. Following a disappointing outing to the Los Angeles Lakers during the postseason, the Rockets have bid farewell to Mike D’Antoni, Daryl Morey, Robert Covington, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers and most recently Russell Westbrook in a string of three months.
The way things are looking, Harden could potentially be the next domino to fall. And the rumor mill believes his next stop could be joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets. For a player of Harden’s value, a variety of players are linked to the Rockets in a potential deal for the former league MVP, including Spencer Dinwiddie, whose future with the Nets is already uncertain.
“I am obviously in an interesting situation. At the end of the day, [I] come out here and try to win games the same way I’ve always done — hopefully, it will work itself out. Whatever they are going to do from a front office perspective is what they are going to do. My job is to come out here and try to help this team win games. That is all I can focus on.” — Dinwiddie
Dinwiddie, who averaged a career-high 20.6 points and 6.8 assists during the 2019-20 campaign, is in the second year of his three-year deal worth $34 million. He has a player option following this coming season and will likely opt-out of his current contract to test free agency.
Other than cashing in on his talents, finding stability with a team may be his primary preference. Dinwiddie’s role on the Nets has been a bit inconsistent throughout his first two seasons — which resulted in frustration at times.
For Dinwiddie’s teammate Caris LeVert, he views his tie-in to Houston as “part of the business.”
“They tell you that from day one. Nobody is irreplaceable. Guys get moved every single year, and we have to be prepared for any situation. I try not to pay attention to it, but it is hard when you turn on the TV and see certain things — or social media. I just worry about the team and myself to put in the work every day and try to maximize my potential.” — LeVert
In a trade, LeVert could be the most valuable asset from Brooklyn in a potential deal for Harden.
The 26-year-old forward was having a breakout season prior to the league’s suspension, averaging a career-best 18.7 points on 42.5 percent shooting from the floor, 36.4 percent from behind the arc. LeVert set several career-highs throughout the season, which included a 51-point explosion against the Boston Celtics in March.
Kevin Durant was asked about the rumors and had this to say:
“I don’t know where you’re making these stories up that me & James talked about any of this at a workout. James is a friend of mine, but I’ll let the front office handle that stuff… Anybody can make up stories & it gets some traction.”— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 1, 2020
Kevin Durant on James Harden trade rumors pic.twitter.com/NIHs6lHfQ5
When the Rockets open trade talks — at any point — Houston will be asking for a king’s ransom in exchange for Harden. A similar package to what the Lakers sent to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis last June.
Even after the departure of Westbrook, Houston’s stance on Harden has not changed, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The team expects Harden to start this coming season as a member of the Rockets, but only time will tell if the two parties can salvage their relationship.
Stephen Silas says he hasn’t spoken to James Harden since the John Wall trade.— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) December 3, 2020
“When stuff like this happens, I take a step back and allow guys some space. My communication has been ‘I’m giving you space. Guys like that need that.”
Let’s all hope for the best for Coach Silas, James Harden, and the rest of our Rockets pic.twitter.com/UyrQIuhSq2— Rockets Nation (@RocketsNationCP) December 6, 2020
The Rockets are willing to go the distance to keep their disgruntled star in Houston, but hopefully, this situation does not get as messy as Davis’ departure out of the Crescent City.