According to Sam Amick and Kelly Iko of The Athletic, James Harden has added the Portland Trail Blazers to his list of preferred destinations while seeking a trade from the Houston Rockets.
Harden has two years remaining on his current deal with a $47.3 million player option for 2022-23 and a 2020-21 salary of $41.2 million.
Other teams on Harden's list of preferred destinations include Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Miami, Milwaukee, and Boston. Portland is the only team in the Western Conference on his reported list.
To match salary and assuming Damian Lillard is off the table, the Blazers would need to presumingly trade CJ McCollum ($29.3 million) and other matching salary to make a trade legal.
Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has been reluctant to include CJ McCollum in trade packages in the past. When Paul George was forcing his way out of Indiana, the Blazers reportedly offered all three 2017 first-round picks and any player not named Daman Lillard, CJ McCollum or Jusuf Nurkić.
"The odds of anything ever coming up of commensurate value is so hard to even fathom," Olshey said about not wanting to trade either Lillard or McCollum following the 2017 sweep to Golden State. "I could give you the trite answer that nobody is untradeable, but clearly they are."
Amick and Iko added that Houston will not make a trade just to make one, but rather will pull the trigger on a deal that greatly benefits the Rockets despite hesitancy from other teams "to give up elite talent and draft capital unless there is complete buy-in on Harden’s part."
The Portland Trail Blazers host James Harden and the Houston Rockets at the Moda Center on Saturday, December 26th at 7:00 p.m. PT here on NBC Sports NW, the home of the Portland Trail Blazers.