The Houston Rockets are increasingly expanding business talks about All-NBA goalie James Harden beyond his favorite destinations, the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, sources told ESPN.
Several playoff-caliber teams at Eastern and Western conferences have told ESPN they are more comfortable engaging in high-level commercial assets in talks to acquire Harden. The Rockets have ongoing talks on various fronts and have communicated with Harden about these scenarios, sources said.
Several teams have informed ESPN that they feel less inhibited when it comes to Harden trading without guaranteeing that he will sign again once he becomes a free agent in two years.
While the Sixers have expressed a desire to include All-Star guard Ben Simmons in the commercial packages for Harden, those talks have not come close to an agreement, sources said. The Nets are limited by the Rockets’ interest in their staff and would probably need a third team to get out of the talks, sources said. So far, the Rockets’ high starting price for young players and the national team has not moved their discussions to an advanced stage.
The Rockets plan to start the season next week, when Harden shares the field with John Wall, but shows a desire for the teams to continue reaching an agreement as soon as possible, sources said.
Harden, three-time outstanding champion and MVP In the 2018 NBA tournament, he did not report to Houston until December 8, two days after the Rockets began team training. He missed the Rockets’ first two preseason games and admitted he was “in a way of catching up” on conditioning the game and learning the systems from the new Houston coach. Stephen Silas.
Harden, 31, asked for a transaction before the training camp, even though the Rockets offered him a two-year contract extension of $ 103 million, in addition to three years, $ 133 million. they were still due to him, sources said. to ESPN.
“I can’t focus until now, and for me, the best James Harden makes sure he’s fit,” Harden told reporters Wednesday. “Like I said, I didn’t even get a chance to play 5v5. Individual training, when you’re an individual basketball coach, it’s great, but since all NBA players can agree, there’s nothing like 5v5. Training, the physique, the readings and so on. Yesterday, for the first time, I felt good and that’s exciting. “
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.