Trade reports are coming out of nowhere which means the NBA offseason has officially begun. The biggest and most destructive of these trade reports comes from the Houston Rockets as James Harden and Russell Westbrook are both on the trade block after getting bodyslammed by the Lakers in the 2nd round of the playoffs.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni quietly cleared his desk and snuck out in the middle of the night. GM Daryl Morey went to the office in the morning and they changed the locks on him. So with a brand new management and coaches in place, this is the perfect time for the players to all come out and individually burn this fucker to the ground.
A report from The Athletic detailed the drama amongst the Rockets including PJ Tucker being ‘irate’ that he hasn’t gotten paid and deserves an extension. Now, obviously Tucker is about to turn 36 years old so signing him to an extension does not behoove Houston.
But when you trade away every player taller than 6-foot-8 and you force 6-foot-5 PJ Tucker to defend opposing teams center for 40 minutes a night, you owe that man money. Tucker is damn near 40 being asked to stop Steven Adams and Anthony Davis in the paint and they keep leaving his ‘hey, so about that new contract’ texts on read. The disrespect.
It was also reported that Eric Gordon “was not pleased with how his role and importance had diminished since the 2016-17 season.” You could make an argument that this is a Mike D’Antoni issue and new head coach, Stephen Silas, would be foolish to not give Gordon more opportunities. The Rockets are simply a different team when defenses are forced to worry about Gordon as a scoring threat.
The funniest story was without a doubt Austin Rivers being absolutely shook by James Harden.
“At times, Rivers was unhappy with his inconsistent playing time and utilization, sources said. In one instance, Rivers went on an expletive-laden tirade following a game where D’Antoni called for him to be substituted, only to change his mind and insert new signing DeMarre Carroll. In another instance, Rivers was barked at by Harden after the former MVP missed a free throw and blamed Rivers—who was standing up by the bench—for distracting him.”
Austin Rivers couldn’t WAIT to tells Shams that Jimmy Harden yelled at him once. I have never hidden the fact that I’m a Harden fan so I usually defend him against unnecessary slander he receives but like, do I really need to explain that maybe just sit still while Harden is shooting. Especially if you’re Austin Rivers. Just don’t do anything if DeMarre Carroll is taking your minutes, my guy.
But essentially this story was how much everyone hates James Harden.
“A large chunk of the angst, however, stems from a lack of accountability, sources said. During the January locker room meeting following a home loss to Portland, Westbrook, who was leading the meeting, went around the room indicating what was wrong and what each player needed to do to fix the losing streak, starting with himself, sources said. When it came to Harden, however, he wasn’t as receptive to criticism as other teammates, sources said.”
I love the idea of Russell Westbrook going around the room pointing out everyone’s flaws and James is just sitting there with his headphones in saying ‘yea, you tell em’ as Westbrook explains how Harden needs to try better on the defensive end. I am not imagining James Harden as Charlie Kelly just like ‘he doesn’t get us’ when they’re all yelling directly at him.
Trevor Ariza left in free agency and refused to come back because he felt he wasn’t respected there. NBA Champion Dwight Howard was bullied out of town. Chris Paul was blamed for their inability to beat the Warriors. Now Russell Westbrook is outwardly demanding a trade.
The Houston Rockets are on fire and James Harden is totally unbothered. He’s about to be playing with Julius Randle and Kevin Knox next season and won’t even take the time to save their numbers in his phone contacts.
Rockets are winning the chip next season.