NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey departed the Houston Rockets after last season. Star National Basketball Association (NBA) guard James Harden might be the next one out the door.
Harden declined Houston’s offer of a contract that would pay him an NBA-record US$50 million (S$67.22 million) per season, and he instead is looking to engineer a trade that would send him to the Brooklyn Nets, ESPN reported on Monday (Nov 16).
Per the report, Harden turned down an extension for two years and US$103 million beyond the existing three years and US$133 million on his contract.
He is reportedly in contact with Nets forward Kevin Durant and guard Kyrie Irving in hopes of forming a “Big Three” in Brooklyn.
However, there has been no “meaningful dialogue” between the Nets and the Rockets about a Harden deal, according to ESPN.
D’Antoni parted ways with the Rockets in September after the team lost to the eventual champions Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semi-finals.
Morey resigned as the Rockets’ GM on Oct 15, two weeks before the club hired Stephen Silas as their new head coach.
The New York Times reported that Harden had wanted the team to hire either Tyronn Lue or John Lucas as D’Antoni’s replacement.
Harden, 31, is an eight-time All-Star and seven-time All-NBA performer who has led the NBA in scoring each of the past three seasons.
In 2019-20, he averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 68 games.
He has reached the NBA Finals once – playing alongside Durant with the 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder – and the Western Conference finals three other times but has yet to win a championship.
Durant, 32, is set to return in 2020-21 after missing all of last season due to a torn Achilles tendon.
He has two championship rings from his time with the Golden State Warriors, winning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player twice.
Irving, 28, joined the Nets last season after previous stints in Cleveland and Boston.
He was a key part of the Cavaliers’ 2015-16 championship team alongside LeBron James.