Houston may deal James Harden, Russell Westbrook

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The Houston Rockets do not appear to be an elite team anymore. In fact, it looks like the team is heading for a rebuilding process.

In the off-season, the team elected to let veteran coach Mike D’Antoni walk. Instead of hiring an elite coach to replace him, the team elected to hire a first-time head coach in Stephen Silas.

Houston Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook gives Robert Covington an high-five following a play against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2020 NBA Playoffs
Russell Westbrook gives Robert Covington an high-five following a play against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2020 NBA Playoffs (Photo by the Houston Rockets/Instagram)

The Rockets are also under a first-time GM. This came about when Daryl Morey elected to step down from being in the role for the past 13 seasons.

Related: 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers Season In Review

Morey has since been hired by the Philadelphia 76ers as their Vice President of Basketball Operations.

This sudden change within the team is causing many to question whether James Harden and Russell Westbrook will be apart of the team moving forward.

Right now, that status is up in the air. There have been rumors that the face of the franchise — who was acquired in an October 2012 deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder — may be dealt to the 76ers.

Related: Pacers name Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as head coach

Morey said that he would be “intrigued” by the possibility of acquiring Harden in his new role. Harden has turned into a superstar with the Rockets.

It is going to be near impossible to get equal value for him back in a trade. If the Rockets do move on, they may have to acquire multiple first round picks, like the Los Angeles Clippers have to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Paul George deal.

Even if they did that and average to good players coming back, it would not equal Harden’s value. The 31-year-old Los Angeles, California born player averaged 34.3 points per game despite missing several games from their full slate due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Lue agrees to become Clippers head coach; agrees to five-year deal

This was Harden’s third straight year to average above 30 points per game. He averaged a career-high 36.1 points per game during the 2018-19 season.

He spent the past eight seasons with the Rockets. Before the blockbuster deal in 2012, he spent three years with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Speaking of the Thunder, their former franchise point guard Russell Westbrook may be moved as well. He was just acquired by the Rockets last off-season in a trade that sent Chris Paul to the Thunder.

Related: Mavericks’ Porziņģis to miss time during the 2020-21 season following surgery

The 32-year-old Long Beach, California born player averaged 27.2 points per game. His first season under D’Antoni saw his points per game average spike to his best numbers in several seasons.

Westbrook was acquired by the Rockets in a July 2019 trade.

The 27.2 ppg was his highest since his 31.6 points per game season during the 2016-17 season.

Related: Way too early preview for the 2020-21 NBA season

During the 2016-17 season, Westbrook was named the NBA MVP. It’ll be interesting to see what the Rockets do with Harden and Westbrook.

Since they’re two high-priced players, it’s going to be tricky to deal them. While it may be impossible due to their contract, there will be teams to dance with the Rockets to get deals done.

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