Continuing to seek a path out of Houston, disgruntled Rockets star James Harden reportedly added a pair of teams to his preferred trade list.
The Athletic reported that the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers now are among Harden’s preferred destinations. He previously said he’d like to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets or Philadelphia 76ers, then added the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks to the list.
Miami and Milwaukee out on Harden?
The Heat and Bucks are believed to have pulled out of the Harden sweepstakes.
The Rockets tried to appease Harden by dispatching Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards and bringing in John Wall to join him in the backcourt, but Harden seems firm in his desire to leave.
The three-time defending NBA scoring leader and a former league MVP currently is in isolation. The league fined him $50,000 for violating COVID-19 protocols when he attended a private indoor party. If he continues to test negative for the virus, he could return to the court on Saturday when the Rockets are scheduled to face the Trail Blazers.
The Rockets’ season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed on Wednesday because Houston didn’t have enough players because of COVID-19 positive testing, contact tracing and injuries.
Rockets’ hefty asking price
Any team that wants to acquire Harden likely would have to send Houston a significant package of players and draft picks in return. He has two seasons remaining on his contract that total about $85.5 million, and he holds a player option for the 2022-23 season at $47.4 million.
The Rockets are known to have had trade talks with teams not on Harden’s preferred list.
Harden, 31, averaged 34.3 points with 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists over 68 games last season.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)