The Los Angeles Clippers won their first game of the James Harden Era this week, but it didn’t come easy.
L.A. needed a four-point play from Harden at the very end to beat the Houston Rockets at home.
Because of how hard things have gone for all parties involved ever since Harden was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this month, questions have loomed about whether this team can co-exist as presently constructed.
If the answer to that proves to be ‘no,’ then apparently Russell Westbrook will be the odd man out.
According to Clippers insider Law Murray, a Westbrook trade could be in the cards if this squad doesn’t shape up.
“The reality of this move is that Harden was brought in to ultimately replace Westbrook in the case that a partnership between the two players on the floor did not work,” he wrote.
“While Lue advocated for Westbrook, the Clippers front office has always preferred a point guard who is a theoretical fit with Leonard and George in terms of size and shooting ability.”
The irony here, of course, is that earlier in the day on Friday news came out that Westbrook voluntarily relegated himself to the bench in an effort to improve team chemistry.
Things have gone so poorly for the Clippers since adding Harden that even the normally unflappable Kawhi Leonard has taken to lashing out.
You know things are bad when Leonard is showing any sort of emotion.
Earlier in the offseason, three teams were viewed as serious contenders for Westbrook’s services in the event he left the Clippers. He ultimately opted to stay – but for how long that will be the case remains to be seen.
Obviously the Rockets win was a big one for the Clippers.
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They badly needed a dub.
But one victory isn’t going to cut it.
Harden was brought in to help Leonard and Paul George win a championship. And if getting rid of Westbrook paves the way for that, then the Clippers will dump him even faster than the Los Angeles Lakers did.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.