Things are breaking down in Houston this offseason. First GM Daryl Morey stepped down. Then it was rumored Russell Westbrook was looking for the door. Now, it’s star James Harden who is said to be interested in continuing his career elsewhere.
Harden recently turned down a two-year extension worth more than $100 million— which would have paid him more than $50 million per year — and is said to have set his sights on teaming with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.
The rumor was the topic of discussion on The Jump this week as Paul Pierce, Rachel Nichols and Kendrick Perkins broke down all the different factors at play in what would be a seismic shift in the NBA landscape. Perk believes the Rockets plan to hold out to either receive a star player in return for Harden, or for Harden to change his mind on returning.
But The Truth believes the writing is on the wall and Houston is going to have to accept that it is time to rebuild.
“When you trade a James Harden, that’s what you’re trying to do, set yourselves back six or seven years, because you want to accumulate assets, with young players and draft picks and get into a rebuild mode,” Paul said. “You don’t see MVP caliber players getting traded for other MVP caliber players. When you trade James Harden, you’re saying “We’re done. This ship has sunk. It’s time for us to go in a new direction.”
Perkins posited that the Rockets could ask for Irving in exchange for Harden, at which Paul scoffed.
“You’re not going to get Kyrie Irving for James Harden, that’s just not going to happen. You’re trying to put those [three] guys together if you’re the Brooklyn Nets.”
The Rockets recently re-acquired Trevor Ariza, which Perkins believes was a movie designed to entice Harden to stay, but Paul said it succinctly.
“If $50 million didn’t convince him, nobody can.”