NBA rumors: James Harden-Chris Paul relationship now 'unsalvageable'

NBA rumors: James Harden-Chris Paul relationship now 'unsalvageable'

So, much for Daryl Morey's PR spin.

The Rockets general manager claims he has no plans to trade Chris Paul, but it appears he might not have a choice.

Paul's relationship with superstar backcourt mate James Harden has deteriorated to the point where it reportedly is "unsalvageable," and the two stars want to go their separate ways, Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill reports, citing sources. 

Per Goodwill, Paul asked the Rockets' management for a trade following Houston's second-round NBA playoff loss to the Warriors. In response, Harden made it clear it was either him or CP3. The two reportedly went two months without speaking during the season and Harden hasn't returned Paul's attempts to communicate.

“There’s no respect at all, on either side,” a source told Goodwill. “They need to get away from one another. Chris doesn’t respect James’ standing in the league, and James doesn’t respect the work Chris has put in to this point.”

In 2018, Paul's injured hamstring might have cost the Rockets a chance at dethroning the Warriors and winning the NBA title.

When Paul missed time with an injury early in the 2018-19 season, Harden carried the team, his usage rate spiking to unprecedented levels. But when Paul returned, the offense remained isolation dominant, with the ball in Harden's hands the majority of the time. This reportedly has bothered Paul and led to his trade demand. Sources told Goodwill that Paul would swear at head coach Mike D'Antoni about the offense stagnating when Harden was in with the second unit.

While Paul has been annoyed at the Harden-dominated offense, The Beard reportedly has been irked by Paul's injuries and personality. 

Now, this scene during their second-round loss to the Warriors makes a whole lot of sense.

However, Paul took to Instagram Tuesday afternoon to seemingly refute the report.

The Warriors -- who are decimated by injuries following their NBA Finals loss to the Raptors -- appear to be leaving their perch atop the NBA, but the Rockets might not be able to capitalize if Harden and Paul can't kiss and makeup, which a source tells Goodwill is unlikely.

There's also the issue of CP3's contract, which Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta reportedly has "complained about ever since" it was signed, per Goodwill. The Lakers reportedly were seen as a potential trade fit, but that was before they made the blockbuster deal for Anthony Davis. So now, the market for a potential Paul trade won't be big -- if there is one at all.

[RELATED: Rockets reportedly making all picks, players available in trade talks]

With Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant injured and hitting free agency, now appears to be the Rockets' time to strike in the Western Conference. The Rockets have become obsessed with taking down the Dubs, and the Harden-Paul backcourt supposedly was the key to getting over the top.

Now, it looks like it could undo them just when the Warriors are ripe for the picking.

Warriors have third-hardest schedule in NBA after All-Star break

Warriors have third-hardest schedule in NBA after All-Star break

Wins haven't been easy to come by for the Warriors this season. It looks like it won't be any easier for Golden State after the All-Star break either. 

Odds Shark's Joe Osborne look at the remaining strength of schedule for all 30 NBA teams, and it doesn't look good for the Dubs. The Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies are the only two teams with harder schedules the rest of the way. 

The Warriors, at 12-43, have the worst record in the NBA. They lost just 49 regular-season games combined the last two seasons, but this is a much different team. Kevin Durant is gone. Steph Curry has only played four games. And Klay Thompson likely won't play at all this season as he rehabs a torn ACL. 

That doesn't even include the departure of veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. 

There's a silver lining to this season full of losses, though. The Warriors have lost four straight games and are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks for the worst record in the NBA. This only increases their chances of landing a top pick in the draft. 

[RELATED: Kerr laughs off Warriors' ugly season with funny tweet]

Though this year's draft is considered far worse than 2021, a top-5 draft pick always is a great asset. Golden State could use it in a trade or select a top prospect like center James Wiseman, guard Anthony Edwards, guard LaMelo Ball or big man Deni Avdija. 

The Warriors still are in the business of wins and refuse to acknowledge the "T word." But they clearly look like they're on the path to a top draft pick, and that only can help them reload for another championship run next season.

Steve Kerr uses Twitter to laugh at Warriors' season of adversity

Steve Kerr uses Twitter to laugh at Warriors' season of adversity

Steve Kerr lost 39 regular-season games over his first three seasons as the Warriors' head coach. This season alone, they have 43 losses before the NBA All-Star break. 

Even with the departure of Kevin Durant and with Klay Thompson rehabbing his torn ACL, nobody saw Golden State falling this far in their first season at Chase Center. Two college basketball coaching legends are in the same boat as Kerr this season. 

Roy Williams and Muffet McGraw are not used to losing. So when McGraw tweeted out a picture of herself and Williams on Monday, she hilariously tagged Kerr to be a part of their support group for former champions. 

Kerr had the perfect response. 

McGraw, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September of 2017, is in her 33rd season as the head coach for Notre Dame's women's basketball team. She's a two-time national champion, and the Fighting Irish entered the season with 16 losses in their last five seasons combined. 

They're 10-16 this season entering Tuesday. 

Williams, who was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2007, is a three-time national champion who also is experiencing a season he certainly isn't used to. The young North Carolina Tar Heels also are 10-16 this season. They sit last in the ACC and are just 3-12 in conference play.

[RELATED: Steph was pumped after Giannis' All-Star block on LeBron]

And then there's Kerr. The Warriors have the worst record in the NBA right now at 12-43. Kerr's star, Steph Curry, only has played four games this season after breaking his hand on Oct. 30. Golden State has more G League players than star players on the court as they look to reload for next season. 

For such a disappointing season, Kerr seems to always have the right response with the perfect amount of humor.