Houston Rockets star James Harden did not attend the team’s practice on Wednesday, a day after he voiced a lack of confidence in the team, and it is not known if he will ever put on a Rockets uniform again.
“We felt it was best for James and the rest of the group for him not to come to practice today,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said.
The Rockets have accelerated their attempt to trade the disgruntled Harden with Brooklyn and Philadelphia emerging as landing spots. Silas did not know when or if Harden would be back with the team as the drama escalated after Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We're just not good enough," Harden said after the 117-100 loss. "Chemistry, talent-wise, just everything, and it was clear these last few games."
Houston Rockets star James Harden has been critical of the team. (Photo: Carmen Mandato, USA TODAY Sports)
He added: “This situation is crazy. It's something that I don't think can be fixed."
The comments stung Silas, who is in his first NBA head coaching job.
“You want everybody to be on the same page," he said. "You want everybody to be committed to each other on an NBA team. With how things have gone the last few days – actually for a while – I’m not sure (if the Harden situation is salvageable).”
He later added: “That’s hard to hear especially when you don’t believe it and know it not to be true.”
Now, the Rockets are trying to find a suitable trade partner before any more damage is done. Rockets players have had enough.
“My interest is to play with John Wall, to be brutally honest,” Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins said. “With that being said, the (Harden) disrespect started way before – his approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, his antics off the court. … This isn't something that all of a sudden happened last night. This is the nasty part of the business. … It's completely unfair to the rest of the guys in the locker room.”
Harden’s time in Houston is nearing an end.
Philadelphia and Brooklyn are two teams that can put together packages for Harden. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has a relationship with Harden from their Rockets days. The holdup so far has been finding a trade package that suits the Rockets, who have tried to find a deal for Harden since training camp. If the Sixers include guard Ben Simmons, Houston might find that the more ideal trade.
The Sixers are searching for more draft picks to offer in a deal, a person familiar with trade talks told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about trade negotiations.
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