The Houston Rockets are an absolute mess right now.
It appears that they’ll be holding James Harden out of games until they can find a deal for the three-time scoring champion. An eight-time All-Star, Harden saw Russell Westbrook traded in the offseason and has since been disengaged from the team.
Watching the Rockets play, it’s clear the potential is there, but the team is in rebuilding mode.
It all started with Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni. The management left, and the star wants to pack his bags as well. It was clear since the offseason and his unknown location during some of training camp that this wasn’t going to work.
Averaging under 25 points per game, Harden hasn’t been the same star. The Rockets, while they’re likely passing the ball more, aren’t scoring as frequently as Harden isn’t the sole leader of the offense.
Harden wants a trade, and DeMarcus Cousins is not happy about it. Cousins let loose on the team’s star.
"I don't feel betrayed at all. My interest was with playing with John Wall, to be brutally honest."— ESPN (@espn) January 13, 2021
DeMarcus Cousins on if he feels betrayed by James Harden. pic.twitter.com/yRlyOFw0In
“I don’t feel betrayed. My interest was playing with John Wall, to be perfectly honest,” Cousins said on why he signed with Houston. The disrespect [from Harden] started way before any interview. Just his approach the training camp, showing up the way he did, the antics off the court. The disrespect started way before. This isn’t something that all of a sudden happened last night.
“The other 14 guys in the locker room have done nothing to him. For us to be on the receiving end of disrespectful comments and antics, it’s completely unfair to the rest of the guys in the locker room.”
Cousins, who has been ejected and received numerous technicals this season, still brings that gritty personality, and you can see it in the quote.
He’s not happy with the situation at all. After being in the locker room with the Lakers, Warriors, and Pelicans all within the last few seasons, he likely knows a thing or two about the respect that comes with it.
Harden will likely get his way. A trade seems imminent, and one of the teams involved in the deal is the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers and Nets seem like the frontrunner. One Sixer that would likely hear his name called is Tyrese Maxey.
The first-round pick has been mentioned in trade talks according to Marc Stein.
The Sixers, league sources say, are trying to muster other assets (such as draft compensation) to offer Houston to keep Tyrese Maxey out of a potential James Harden trade, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 13, 2021
Maxey’s looked good this season, so it’s no easy throw-in. He’s averaging 11 points per game on 47.6% shooting with 2.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. He recently scored a career-high 39 points in a 115-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
While Maxey has a bright future, we are talking about one of the best scorers in NBA history in Harden, so it’s difficult to see a late first-round pick that isn’t a guaranteed superstar making or breaking the deal.
The thought of three Kentucky Wildcats in Houston does sound like a fun dream.