The Houston Rockets are not under pressure to trade with James Harden or Russell Westbrook, despite the superstars’ strong desire for new starts with different franchises, and are “ready to feel uncomfortable” when training camp opens and the season begins, sources told ESPN.
The Rockets front office, led by recently promoted general manager Rafael Stone, remains adamant that none of the players will be traded unless the team meets the asking price.
The Rockets have no problem entering the training camp and the start of the season with Harden and Westbrook on the list, even if the superstars are not happy with the situation.
A source confirmed that the Rockets and Washington Wizards have discussed a Westbrook deal for John Wall, as first reported by The Athletic, but Houston wants assets in addition to Wall, a former All-Star defender who comes out of a torn Achilles tendon.
The Rockets believe that time is on their side, given that both superstars are under contract for at least two more seasons. Harden and Westbrook have $ 1
The Rockets call for a particularly steep return for Harden, a longtime MVP candidate who has led the NBA in results over the past three seasons: a proven, young star as a key element, along with a massive package of photos, according to sources. Houston does not feel obligated to deliver Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, his preferred destination, sources said.
The Rockets also understand that Westbrook, whom Houston gave up on Chris Paul, two initial rounds and two swaps last summer at Harden’s insistence, will not command the same type of trade return as Harden. However, Houston does not want to part with Westbrook without receiving assets such as young talent or first round.
Houston is hesitant to sell low to Westbrook, the third All-NBA team last season, who struggled during the NBA restart in the bubble when he was working in shape after recovering from the coronavirus and straining his right quadriceps, making him made him miss a few games and play injured during the playoffs.
The Rockets believe the 32-year-old Westbrook – who averaged 31.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists while shooting 52.6% of the floor in the two-and-a-half months before the pandemic ended the season – could restored its value with a strong start to the season, sources said. They do not worry that misfortune could affect the efforts of Westbrook, which has a reputation as one of the most ruthless competitors in the league.
Meanwhile, the Rockets began to accumulate stocks of assets that could help the franchise after the possible departure of the two superstars.
The Rockets agreed Monday night to trade striker Robert Covington at the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 16 in Wednesday’s draft, a future first-round pick, and striker Trevor Ariza, a veteran who can contribute if Houston is competitive this season or could be. valuable trading chip as an expiring contract.
Sources said the Rockets also hope to buy a choice – either late in the first round or early in the second round – in Wednesday’s draft.