James Harden Has Reportedly ‘Made It Clear’ He Wants A Trade To The Nets

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As the NBA’s offseason frenzy approaches, deals are already being made, including the high-profile transaction to send Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. While the Houston Rockets haven’t been involved just yet, all indications are that things are coming to an impasse between James Harden and his current team, with the latest reporting taking the developments to a new level.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski brings word on Monday evening that Harden “has made it clear to ownership that he’s singularly focused on a trade” and his preferred destination is the Brooklyn Nets. Though it is important to note that ESPN’s reporting also notes that the two teams “so far have engaged in no meaningful dialogue,” these kind of discussions can often escalate quickly.
The Rockets are in a challenging position in that Harden remains a top-flight player and the team is likely dreading the potential of moving him elsewhere. In addition, this kind of public posturing for one particular destination can damage the market for Harden and, with Houston still trying to compete, they may choose to hang on to Harden through the beginning of the upcoming 2020-21 season.
As an additional wrinkle, Wojnarowski reports that Houston recently offered Harden a contract extension that would add more than $100 million in total cash over two additional seasons. If Harden were to accept, he would be owed more than $240 million over five years, but Harden’s reported insistence on moving to Brooklyn seemingly wasn’t overcome by the financial commitment.
It remains to be seen as to how this will play out, but the Rockets reportedly aren’t overwhelmed by the prospects of a deal with Brooklyn specifically. Given that the Nets would seemingly be intent on avoiding the inclusion of Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant in any offer, Brooklyn would have a package centering on strong pieces like Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen, but none would qualify as “stars” at this juncture. From there, the Nets don’t have top-end draft capital to offer, which could leave the two teams without an obvious common ground on a deal.