The NBA's transaction window has yet to officially open, but that does not mean the league is devoid of major developments.
Rockets star Russell Westbrook wants out of Houston, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday night.
That’s significant news, though not what’s most relevant to the Sixers. James Harden, according to Charania and The Athletic’s Kelly Iko, is “locked in” with the Rockets for next season and still committed to the team. The Sixers were reportedly expected to pursue Harden, the 2017-18 MVP, the NBA’s leading scorer the past three seasons and the game’s best isolation player.
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey brought Harden to Houston in a 2012 deal with the Thunder. He’s a franchise cornerstone for Houston, a uniquely gifted offensive player who most teams would love to have. The 31-year-old is under contract for the next two seasons and has a player option for approximately $47.4 million in 2022-23.
As for Westbrook, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported Tuesday that the Knicks and Clippers have interest in the 2016-17 MVP, who will turn 32 years old on Thursday. We’ll see if that short list expands now that Westbrook apparently wants his stay in Houston to last a single year.
We’ll likely note this many times over the chaotic next few weeks, but Morey’s historically aggressive approach makes him an inevitable factor in many of these conversations about stars potentially being on the move. The state of affairs in Houston has shifted dramatically since he stepped down as the team’s GM last month.