James Harden is not going away from Houston any time soon, according to the latest reports.
The 2017-18 NBA MVP has been in the thick of some unsubstantiated trade rumors of late. Former Rockets GM Daryl Morey has recently been appointed President of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers.
The duo share a fantastic relationship and Morey has always done his level best to surround Harden with the appropriate talent.
Stephen A Smith recently suggested that Sixers should go all in for Harden, even if it means trading Ben Simmons away.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 29, 2020
If any executive in the NBA could put together a viable trade package for the superstar scorer, it would be Morey. But the Rockets seem to be unwilling to go to this option for a franchise rebuild.
Why the Rockets will not trade James Harden away for Ben Simmons
First and foremost, despite Simmons’s abilities as an all-round basketball player, he is nowhere near the asset Harden is. Harden can make opposing coaches alter their entire defensive schemes according to his will. Simmons can easily be schemed out of games.
ESPN’s Tim McMahon essentially ruled out the possibility of such a trade taking place in his appearance on the Hoop Collective podcast with Brian Windhorst.
“MCMAHON: I’ve already been told, with a few expletives included, by somebody with the Rockets that, ‘No Daryl, Ben Simmons for James Harden isn’t happening. Don’t ask.”
“WINDHORST: It’s not up to the Rockets, is it?”
“MCMAHON: Well… the answer is no on that.”
Trading away the NBA’s most prolific scorer over the last 8 seasons would be shooting oneself in the foot as an executive. Harden has brought excitement back to the Toyota Center for the first time since Hakeem Olajuwon’s heyday. Their championship window will close about as soon as they sign on the dotted line to let their best asset go.
Westbrook is the player they’d rather look to shop over Harden. At 31 years of age going on 32 by the start of the next season, he will not be elite physically much longer.