The loss was Houston’s sixth in the first nine games this season and the second double-digit loss in a row to Los Angeles. The Rockets’ (3-6) sixth loss ties the franchise’s worst nine-game start since Houston acquired James Harden after the 2011-12 season.
Harden’s discontent comes after years in which the Rockets have tried to build a contender around their All-Pro Guard. The team signed former All-Star Dwight Howard in 2013, former All-Pro Chris Paul in 2017 and former MVP Russell Westbrook last season. The Rockets almost reached the NBA Finals in 2018 when they lost to the Golden State Warriors in seven games.
Rumors of Harden’s dissatisfaction with the Rockets organization aren’t new as some date back to November and December of 2020. Tuesday night, Harden made his feelings about the 2020-21 Houston Rockets clear.
In addition to Houston’s losing start this season, Harden’s holdout from committing to the team has caused internal strife. This afternoon, Rocket’s Head Coach Stephen Silas told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that James Harden was not at practice.
Rockets coach Stephen Silas said James Harden was not at practice today. "We felt that it was best for the group and best for James not to come to practice."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 13, 2021
"I don't feel betrayed at all. My interest was with playing with John Wall, to be brutally honest."
DeMarcus Cousins on if he feels betrayed by James Harden. pic.twitter.com/yRlyOFw0In
— ESPN (@espn) January 13, 2021
Wall explained that his chemistry with Harden on and off the court has been shaky to start the season.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski just shocked the NBA by announcing that James Harden has been Traded to the Brooklyn Nets. The trade was a three-way deal involving Houston, Cleveland and Brooklyn.
Reporting w/ @RamonaShelburne: Brooklyn’s acquiring James Harden in a three-way deal with Cleveland. Caris LeVert, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, four 1st round picks – including Cavs’ 2022 first via Bucks — and 4 Nets pick swaps to Rockets. Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince to Cavs. https://t.co/qM0ZDH4dH3
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 13, 2021
With the trade to Brooklyn, Harden will be reunited with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant.