Is a Houston Rockets rebuild on its way? The organization doesn’t believe so, but it seems the star players on the squad are having a hard time buying what the Rockets have been selling these last few weeks.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook wrapped up their first season as a duo this past summer. Harden, who’s been with the Rockets since 2012, averaged a league-high of 34.3 points-per-game in 68 matchups.
As a newcomer in Houston, Westbrook was a solid addition as he appeared in 57 games, averaging 27.2 points and 7.9 rebounds. Statistically, the Rockets’ dynamic duo had a good year in the regular season, but Houston still failed to make a strong impact in the playoffs.
Following a second-round exit, the Rockets parted ways with head coach Mike D’Anotni and lost General Manager Daryl Morey as he stepped down in October. Typically, when a team loses two key figures such as the coach and the GM, it shows signs of a rebuild.
The Rockets believe the hiring of head coach Stephen Silas and the GM Rafael Stone doesn’t set them back — but Harden and Westbrook reportedly see it differently, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim McMahon.
“Harden and Westbrook have expressed concern about the direction of the franchise through direct conversations or discussions with their representatives and the Rockets’ front office,” ESPN reports.
“The concerns expressed by Harden and Westbrook that Houston’s window as a contender could be closing has left the organization fearful that the superstars’ commitment to remaining with the Rockets could be wavering.”
The chances of the Rockets trading Westbrook this offseason seem much higher than the chances of Houston moving on from Harden. Recently, reports have shown that teams are already looking into possibly acquiring Westbrook as it became clear he was not the best fit with Harden on the Rockets last season.
Harden’s name has been involved in quite a few trade rumors lately as well, but he has yet to express any real desire to be traded. A lot can change in the coming weeks as the 2020-2021 offseason officially begins. While the Rockets believe they’re in a position to try and contend for a championship with their All-Star duo next year — it seems it might only be a matter of time before Houston finds itself starting from scratch once again.