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Sports News

Report: Rockets' new direction doubted by Harden, Westbrook

An offseason shift brought a new regime to the Houston Rockets, and All-Stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook are reluctant to buy in, ESPN reported on Wednesday.

Head coach Mike D’Antoni stepped down, joining Steve Nash’s coaching staff with the Brooklyn Nets, and Daryl Morey ended his run overseeing basketball operations with the franchise to take the same job with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Their replacements, head coach Stephen Silas and general manager Rafael Stone, are unproven. ESPN reported Harden and Westbrook took their concerns about the Rockets keeping the window as a contender open to members of the front office.

The report said both players signed off on Silas’ hiring. He was a well-respected assistant coach beloved by Dallas Mavericks players during his tenure with the team.

But the Rockets are becoming concerned the players are no longer committed to staying in Houston, ESPN said.

Harden, 31, has been an All-Star each of his eight seasons with the team. He publicly and privately has asked the team to improve his supporting cast each of the past three offseasons.

Last summer, he was reunited with Westbrook, a teammate in Oklahoma City, when the Rockets unloaded Chris Paul to the Thunder.

Westbrook turns 32 Thursday. He is owed $131.5 million over the next three years. That doesn’t include a player option for a fourth year at $46.7 million.

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