Coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey departed the Houston Rockets after last season. Star guard James Harden might be the next one out the door.
Harden declined Houston’s offer of a contract that would pay him an NBA-record $50 million per season, and he instead is looking to engineer a trade that would send him to the Brooklyn Nets, ESPN reported Monday.
Per the report, Harden turned down an extension for two years and $103 million beyond the existing three years and $133 million on his contract. He is reportedly in contact with Nets forward Kevin Durant and guard Kyrie Irving in hopes of forming a Big Three in Brooklyn.
However, there has been no “meaningful dialogue” between the Nets and the Rockets about a Harden deal, according to ESPN.
D’Antoni parted ways with the Rockets in September after the team lost to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.
Morey resigned as the Rockets’ GM on Oct. 15, two weeks before the club hired Stephen Silas as its new head coach. The New York Times reported that Harden had wanted the team to hire either Tyronn Lue or John Lucas as D’Antoni’s replacement.
Harden, 31, is an eight-time All-Star and seven-time All-NBA performer who has led the NBA in scoring each of the past three season. In 2019-20, he averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 68 games.
He has reached the NBA Finals once (playing alongside Durant with the 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder) and the Western Conference finals three other times but has yet to win a championship.
Durant, 32, is set to return in 2020-21 after missing all of last season due to a torn Achilles tendon. He has two championship rings from his time with the Golden State Warriors, winning NBA Finals MVP twice.
Irving, 28, joined the Nets last season after previous stints in Cleveland and Boston. He was a key part of the Cavaliers’ 2015-16 championship team alongside LeBron James.
--Field Level Media
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