7:59 AM ET
- Ramona Shelburne
ESPN Senior Writer
- Senior editor ESPN.com
- Worked for the Los Angeles Daily News for seven years.
- Adrian Voynarovskiy
Senior Insider of the NBA
- Master Voi Pod
- Member of ESPN since 2017.
The arrival of John Wall has left the NBA’s entire security team, James Harden, rudderless and uninterested in pursuing a new partnership, and the franchise star continues to push the Houston Rockets to the trade, sources told ESPN.
After making his pre-season Rockets debut last weekend, Wall expressed the hope that Harden would want to play with him in the backyard – a prospect that Harden will refuse when he returns to the team for practice on Monday, according to sources.
I think James and I could be a pretty good combination, Wall told reporters Sunday night after his loss to the Chicago Bulls 104-91 Rockets. I hope we get a chance to go to the regular season and see how it goes.
It’s nothing personal for Wall, and as a source at ESPN said, there’s no change in Harden’s desire to start over elsewhere.
After Harden traveled to training camp in Atlanta and Las Vegas last week and missed the training camp, Harden – MVP and triple NBA scoring champion – told the Missiles’ owner and management his intention to be professional and involved with the team, according to the sources.
For the Rockets, it is essential that the team works under the new coach Stephen Silas, while allowing only influence on the trading market to approach the full value of Harden. The emergence of a problematic asset simply prevents an organization from entering into an agreement of this size, and Harden expressed his understanding of the concept and the idea that it might take some time to find an agreement that would restore the value of the missiles, according to some sources.
According to some sources, the rockets were aimed at Harden’s two main favourite shopping areas, Brooklyn Networks and Philadelphia 76. Brooklyn remains Harden’s best choice, which would mean a reunion with former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant.
So far, the Sixers have not been willing to include Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons in the All-Stars lineup, and the Rockets are not interested in a package consisting mainly of extra nets and draft players, according to some sources. According to some sources, the networks are not interested in exchanges with Kiri Irving, nor has Rockets shown any interest in acquiring them. First, as part of a broader agreement, the Networks and Rockets are to find a better young player in the third team, according to some sources, and there is no indication that this prospect has gained popularity in recent weeks.
On Monday Harden took the KOVID 19 test for the sixth time in a row and started training the team. Prior to Sunday’s game, coach Stephen Silas told reporters that he expected Harden and veteran PJ Tucker to attend Monday’s practice session in Houston. Tucker, who was unhappy with his contract extension, was limited in his ability to play in a pre-season tournament and did not accompany the team to a two-game trip to Chicago.
Teams are reluctant to give away the fortune needed to get a player of Harden’s calibre without being sure he wants to stay with the franchise if he can withdraw from his contract after the 2021-22 season. Few competitive teams have the ability to offer Houston a combination of benefits it wants to consider when dealing with Harden.
Houston did not use what Rockets believes to be a fair price for Harden: a package that includes a young, grassroots franchise and a pool of first-round and/or talented players for new deals, sources report.
The rockets were swapped by Russell Westbrook for Washington Wall, who missed the previous two seasons due to an injury – but last season averaged 17 points, 6.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds in Houston’s first two games.