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Report: James Harden tells Rockets he’ll be professional and engaged, still wants trade

Vincent Goodwill and J.A. Adande analyze the James Harden trade situation and discuss why it could be a breaking point for the player-empowerment movement in the NBA.

New Rockets guard John Wall said he expected James Harden – who requested a trade – to stay in Houston this season.

Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The arrival of John Wall has left All-NBA guard James Harden unmoved and uninterested in pursuing a new partnership, and the franchise star continues to push the Houston Rockets for a trade, sources told ESPN.
Harden -- a league MVP and three-time NBA scoring champion -- has expressed to Rockets ownership and management his intention to be professional and engaged upon joining the team, sources said.

The Rockets also expressed a belief Harden would arrive on time for training camp, and well.

Harden’s attitude will dictate how messy the situation in Houston gets. He already invited cultural issues in the best of times. Who wants to play with a ball-dominant guard who gives little defensive effort… and is also sulking?

I have no problem with Harden requesting a trade if he prefers to move on. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels. Better to let the team know and hope a satisfactory resolution can be reached.

If he shows up and does his job in the meantime, he doesn’t owe the Rockets anything more.

But he has already violated that with his late arrival. He’ll have to prove he’s taking a new approach. It’s impossible to trust this report at face value until seeing Harden’s actions. Heck, I’m not even convinced he told Houston he’d be professional and engaged. The team has incentive to paint the picture as rosier than it is.

Even if Harden does plan to carry himself the right way while still with the Rockets, another question looms: For how long?

As long as his trade request stands, Harden is a wild card.