The NBA’s worst kept secret this offseason has been Russell Westbrook and James Harden’s desire to leave the Houston Rockets.
As both players believe the team’s championship window has closed, they’d like an opportunity to get a fresh start elsewhere.
Typically, when a superstar requests a trade — teams try to honor their wishes. However, the Houston Rockets are playing hardball. As Harden and Westbrook have little leverage in the situation, a new report indicates the Rockets are willing to “get uncomfortable” heading into next season.
“The Rockets have no issue with going into training camp and the start of the season with Harden and Westbrook on the roster,” ESPN’s Tim McMahon reported on Tuesday. “Even if the superstars are unhappy with the situation.”
With no desire to part ways with the superstar duo, the Rockets are hardly taking trade offers seriously at this point in time. Unfortunately for Westbrook and Harden, there isn’t much they can do about it.
Both players have multiple years left on their contracts. Westbrook, who is owed over $41 million for the 2020-2021 season, will earn over $90 million for the following two seasons. Considering how expensive his contract is and where he’s at this point in his career, Westbrook’s trade market is hardly desirable for Houston.
Meanwhile, Harden is set to make over $41 million this year and is expected to be paid over $90 million for the next two years as well. To show they are committed to the superstar guard, the Rockets reportedly offered Harden a two-year extension, worth over $100 million. As we know now, he didn’t take it.
The chances of Westbrook getting traded are much higher this offseason. As long as Houston isn’t getting a star or top pick in return, though, it seems they aren’t interested in making a move.
A James Harden trade would get the Rockets a lot more in value, but Houston refuses to engage in any serious talks with the supposed suitors, the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. Perhaps, Harden’s strong-arm method helps the organization change its mind in the near future, but right now, Houston has very little desire to shake the roster up.