James Harden, superstar of the Houston Rockets, made it clear that he wants to win a Championship now. This upcoming year marks Harden’s 12th season in the NBA and with his prolific shooting abilities and mastery of the game of basketball he has plenty of accolades to show for it. What is the accolade he wants most? A ring. He has carried the Rockets team to great heights over the course of his time with the Rockets which has been a daunting and difficult task. As big a task as it may be, he has done it with minimal time away from the court for injuries and/or rest.
Former General Manager Daryl Morey saw the potential Harden had while he was playing with the Oklahoma City Thunder and was 6th man of the year. Morey managed to bring Harden to Houston and he worked tirelessly to surround him with players that could help him win that elusive championship ring. There have been times when the Rockets were so close to winning it all, they could taste it. An example would be when Chris Paul was on the team and they were in direct contention with the mighty Golden State Warriors. Now after yet another unsuccessful season both Morey and former head coach Mike D’Antoni left the Rockets and Harden appears to be over the never-ending ring-chasing roster roulette. Basketball looks very different these days with the global pandemic and with that comes certain protocol for players. Pictures surfaced that Harden was at a birthday celebration mask-less a few days prior to training camp. So far, he has yet to show up to practice and his absence is making fans and team members worry. Is it protocol due to the pandemic or is it a hold-out because he wants to be traded? New head coach Stephen Silas said in regard to Harden, “…there is no timetable as far as I know. And it is a setback…you want your best player to be here…[with] the short window.” Not much is known at this point other than Harden does have two years left on his contract with the Rockets and he has made it clear he is not happy in Houston and wants a trade. It’s hard to say what will come of that.
The Rockets said goodbye to superstar Russell Westbrook who also was ready to join a new basketball culture and requested a trade. Before his departure he sent a message to the city of Houston saying, “I want to thank the fans and the city of Houston for embracing me and my family. I want to thank everyone at the Rockets organization for believing in my ability to make an impact and making my time in Houston a great experience. I’m looking forward to my next chapter with the Washington Wizards next season and getting back on the court.”
Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards and the Rockets acquired a future first round pick and John Wall. Westbrook, excited for his next chapter set the tone of his work ethic by showing up to the first practice two hours early. Silas said of Wall that he “looked great” after their first couple of practices and in addition to his health looking good his leadership was appreciated.