Houston, We Have A Problem: It’s James Harden

We are now just 11 days away from the opening night of the NBA season. We are just 12 days away from the Houston Rockets opening up their season against the Thunder. The big question on everyone’s’ mind is: will James Harden be there or even on the team then?

This past week, he was seen at Lil Baby’s birthday party at a strip club in Vegas. To make it worse, he was on camera not wearing a mask. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone makes bad judgment calls sometimes, but this looks even worse for Harden.

While he was out partying, his teammates were working in training camp and trying to build some type of chemistry after such a quick offseason. New player John Wall has arrived along with his old college teammate Boogie Cousins. If Harden eventually joins them, they can be a really effective trio that could win them a good amount of games in the regular season.

Over the past three seasons, we have seen many different versions of the Houston Rockets. We saw James Harden and Chris Paul come within one game of beating the super-team Warriors with Kevin Durant. The next year, KD got injured and they still couldn’t get the job done vs the Warriors.

Just a few months later, Chris Paul was traded to the Thunder for point guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook and Harden were former teammates on the Thunder back in 2012 and they were finally reunited with expectations of winning a championship. They lost in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round. Shortly after this, it was reported that both stars wanted out of Houston.

In three seasons, Harden will have had Chris Paul, Russ and now John wall as his point guard. Year after year the narrative seems to be that these players were the problem, but I would argue the total opposite. James Harden is no saint in this situation.

He continues to hold the franchise to extremely high standards when they have done all they could to surround him with talent and put him in the best position possible in order to win a championship. Yet, every summer we hear some story created about the other guy being the problem.

There seems to be some consistency to the fact that none of these players can succeed next to Harden, but they are often used as the scapegoat because of the media bias Harden has Houston under.

Now that Harden is getting sick of Houston after basically mortgaging their whole future for him, he doesn’t even have the energy to show up to training camp. If this does anything, it sends the wrong message to his teammates and other teams around the league who would like to trade for him.

If I’m the owner of the Houston Rockets, I don’t want to hold a player hostage, but I would do everything in my power to continue to hold the leverage in this situation. There is no reason to trade Harden just because he is threatening the front office, only to rush it and not get that much in return.

They should be asking for star players only in return, and that even goes for the Brooklyn Nets who seem to be on Harden’s list of teams. They should be asking for at least Kyrie Irving in return for Harden and if they don’t, then they should not be doing business with them in general.

The NBA has been known to give the power to the players, but in this situation, the owner should not be giving any leverage to Harden. After all they have done to accommodate Harden, they shouldn’t let him walk that easily.