Where Russell Westbrook Is Wanted

Houston has issues — plural.

The Election Day version of the e-newsletter was headlined by the challenges the Rockets face to maintain James Harden blissful after their coach, Mike D’Antoni, and longtime common supervisor, Daryl Morey, abruptly walked away from the franchise within the wake of a second-round hammering by the Los Angeles Lakers within the playoffs.

Just two weeks later, Harden is forcefully angling for a commerce — to the Nets.

The Rockets’ place on Harden, for the report, hasn’t modified: They don’t need to commerce him. Unappetizing because it sounds, Houston needs to play the lengthy recreation and see if it could actually rebuild its relationship with Harden earlier than conceding that buying and selling him is the one various, even after Rafael Stone, the brand new common supervisor, made a forward-looking transfer in his first main commerce by agreeing to ship Robert Covington to Portland for Trevor Ariza and two future first-round picks.

Houston reclaimed a modicum of leverage on the Harden entrance late Monday when New Orleans struck a deal to commerce Holiday to Milwaukee, nixing the opportunity of the very Nets buying and selling for Holiday. Yet that alone isn’t more likely to result in a change of technique. The Rockets have Harden beneath contract for not less than two extra seasons and aren’t obliged to only ship him the place he needs.

Houston additionally certainly understands that, if Harden is traded first, it could face much more hurdles attempting to maneuver the sad Westbrook when the entire league is aware of Westbrook needs out.

The Nets have quite a bit to consider right here, too.

As a lot because the Nets covet a 3rd star to affix Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — and a sturdy one given Durant and, notably, Irving’s harm histories — there’s a lot logic working towards the thought of including Harden to the combination.

Durant has apparently thrown his help behind a reunion with Harden, and it should hearten (and intrigue) Nets officers to listen to that Harden needs to affix the mission. It likewise can’t harm that D’Antoni is now an assistant coach for the Nets. Just don’t overlook that the ball-dominant duo of Durant and Irving has but to play one second collectively in an actual N.B.A. recreation. How positive can the Nets be that Harden, after years of dominating the ball like no different, would make the wanted lodging to play in a three-star alignment after we can’t even make certain how the primary two cornerstones will mesh?

The Rockets, moreover, will likely be on the lookout for the type of haul of future first-round draft picks and gamers that New Orleans simply scored within the Holiday commerce in the event that they do resolve to half with Harden. The Nets don’t look like in the perfect place to provide that.

Source link Nytimes.com

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