NBA News: Will the Rockets Launch Harden to Another Destination?
Harden Wants Out
Earlier this month, the Houston Rockets swung a deal with the Washington Wizards for disgruntled point guard, John Wall, in order to appease their fickle superstar, James Harden. The cost to acquire the 30-year-old Wall was perennial All-Star, Russell Westbrook, so this deal was not without its consequences.
But to hear Wall speak after the trade was a done deal suggests that his perception was identical to that of Houston's management when he stated, "Me and James had a great talk since I've been traded here. We;''ve been friends way before this. What's going on right now, it's because of the testing protocol, and things like that. We're gonna figure out what's the best decision when he wants to get here and be here. We've been on the same page since I've been traded here."
And then when he was asked if he expected harden to remain in Houston, Wall commented thusly, "For sure. That was the main reason why, talking through this whole process of what was going to happen with this trade, if it happened or did not happen. One of the reasons was we wanted to play together. I have 100 percent (belief) he wants to be with this organization, see what happens with this team, and see where we can go."
Well, it appears as though Harden was giving off conflicting vibes because now that Wall has arrived on the Houston scene, Harden is still determined to check out. Reports are that because Harden was partying from Sin City to Hot-Lanta and seen without wearing a facemask or engaging in social distancing, he has been required to take six consecutive COVID-19 tests before being able to join his team.
The Rockets will be in no hurry to deal their eight-time NBA All-Star because he still has two years left on his contract and if a deal is struck, Houston would be expecting the moon, the stars, and perhaps the entire galaxy in exchange. It is believed Harden wants to join or create his own super-team which would lend credibility to Brooklyn being an ideal destination as he would join Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Whether James Harden stays in Houston or leaves for greener pastures remains to be seen but wherever he plies his trade will make that team better because of it. As of this writing, the Rockets can be found as high as 50-1 to win the NBA title in the handicappers NBA picks if you bet them before the season begins.
Will the Freak Remain in Milwaukee?
Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka the Greek Freak, is one of the best basketball players on the planet and is the linchpin to any championship hopes the Bucks have for this year and however long Giannis stays in Milwaukee. Unfortunately for Bucks fans, he only has this season left on his contract and unless he signs a max contract deal with Milwaukee, he will be open to exploring the free-agent waters.
"I'm not focusing on [the extension]," Antetokounmpo said. "My agent Alex and Jon Horst (Bucks GM) and the Bucks ownership are focusing on those discussions and I'm just trying to focus on myself, how I can get better, how I can help my teammates be better."
After December 21st the terms would change but according to Giannis the subject isn't a pressing concern, "I'm not trying to speed up the process, I'm not trying to be involved in that," Antetokounmpo said. "Obviously, it's something that stresses every player out and it's on my mind, but it's not on my mind. I try to put it out of my mind."
"I love the city of Milwaukee. I love the organization. I love my family to death. I love winning, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't be in this situation if I wasn't working hard, I wasn't winning games, I wasn't improving every day and I didn't have this mentality.
"So I can't change who I am, I cannot change this mentality, and 'm gonna focus on improving, and day by day, everything's gonna take care of itself. You guys probably are gonna know what's going on before I do. That's what usually happens. You guys know more than me."