What’s next for James Harden after Russell Westbrook trade?

NBA: Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks

Now that Russell Westbrook found himself traded by the Rockets, is James Harden next up?

James Harden has made it painfully clear he no longer wants to roll with the Houston Rockets. After years of being good — not great — Harden seems to be ready for a fresh start elsewhere.

Following a disappointing end to the 2019-2020 NBA season, the Rockets parted ways with the head coach, Mike D’Antoni. Then weeks later, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey called it quits on the organization as well.

At that point, Harden and Russell Westbrook grew weary of the Rockets’ future. While the organization claims they aren’t headed towards a rebuild, the team’s two superstars begged to differ. So, they asked for trades.

As we know now, Westbrook got his wish. After spending just one season with the Rockets last year, Westbrook is now a member of the Washington Wizards — and John Wall joins the Rockets in a blockbuster trade.

Whether that eases Harden’s mind about remaining in Houston or not is unclear, but it seems the Rockets still haven’t changed their stance on the situation. Getting rid of Westbrook wasn’t that hard considering he’s 32, expensive, and wasn’t around long enough to leave the organization sentimental.

Harden, on the other hand, is a different story. He’s been in Houston since 2012. Harden has been the league’s scoring champ three times during that stint and was even named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

Although Houston could get a lot of value back for Harden, he’s the face of the franchise — and the Rockets don’t want to move on. Many are under the belief that since Westbrook was granted a trade, Harden could be next.

Don’t hold your breath. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets’ stance remains the same. They fully intend on having him in their starting lineup when the 2020-2021 NBA season begins.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_

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