James Harden is reportedly okay with staying in Houston after months of rumors.
The Houston Rockets have assembled a promising core of young players and veterans alike that could help them do damage in the Western Conference, but they have been playing under a cloud of uncertainty because of James Harden’s looming trade request. While it looked like the only way forward was a trade, the latest buzz suggests that Harden is not going anywhere.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer is reporting that league sources believe that Harden will likely remain in Houston throughout the season, which is a sharp about-face from the last few weeks of rumors.
James Harden remains the most lethal scorer in the league
While Harden isn’t scoring at the same Wilt Chamberlain-esque rate that he did under Mike D’Antoni, he is still putting up robust averages of 26 points and 11 assists per game. Harden has helped John Wall and Christian Wood acclimate to life in Houston, as all three players are averaging 20 points per game or more in Stephen Silas’s up-tempo offense.
However, Harden’s Rockets have slumped to a 3-5 start this season. If he isn’t convinced that Silas can turn this team into a winner in the West, his trade request could resurface once again. If Harden can turn it up when the calendar starts shifting to March and April, and Wood keeps making plays inside, they should be able to win enough games to make it to the playoffs and sate Harden’s appetite for both statistical success and postseason basketball.
As long as this new-look offense continues to produce, Harden should be happy enough to stick around in Houston. However, Harden is by no means committing his future to the Rockets, and they need to find a way to mend fences if they want him to stick around long-term and lead them for the next half-decade.