Harden always seemed an odd cultural fit for the Heat, but the real issue was a lack of tradable draft picks, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
Miami has intriguing young players Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, among others, plus some veteran players on the final years of their contracts who could have been used to facilitate the trade. However, the Rockets have also been looking for significant draft assets in Harden deals and the Heat currently can offer only their 2027 first-round pick in a trade. For those reasons, discussions never got very far on the Rockets’ side, sources said.
According to the report, that leaves the Brooklyn Nets, Philadephia 76ers, and Denver Nuggets among the teams who have had trade conversations with Houston. Brooklyn and Philly are on Harden’s list of preferred destinations.
According to reports, Houston wants a franchise cornerstone young player plus a boatload of draft picks back (at least three first rounders) in a trade for Harden. However, up to this point, teams have been hesitant to put that much in a deal. The Rockets tried to create an artificial deadline for a trade with the start of the season, but Houston and Harden may need to ride this out a while longer.
Harden, for his part, is not discussing any of it.
During a Zoom press conference Monday, Harden shot down any attempt to bring up his trade request or his missing the start of training camp as a message to the franchise, according to the Associated Press. When Harden was asked if he feels better about the team now that he has practiced with it for more than a week his response was, “next question.”
Is being in camp where he wants to be, considering he missed the start of it?
“We keep talking about what I missed,” Harden said. “I think everybody, the entire league is in catch-up mode in a sense of we only had a short time for training camp, so everybody’s trying to get into game shape because obviously the season just ended a few months ago.”