The Houston Rockets are in the process of imploding. Following a mediocre 2019-20 campaign that saw the franchise make it to the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs and then get dominated by the Los Angeles Lakers, all the wheels fell off.
First head coach Mike D’Antoni left. Then Daryl Morey pretended to need some time off, only to join the Philadelphia 76ers immediately after exiting the organization.
Last week, Russell Westbrook expressed a desire to be traded. And then this week James Harden followed suit.
As a result of everything that has transpired, many believed that Harden and Westbrook’s relationship was frayed. However, this week, the latter player put all that chatter to rest.
On Monday, ESPN NBA insider Stephen A. Smith joined Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin to relay what Westbrook had told him about his relationship with Harden.
“I’m glad you brought up Russell Westbrook, he said.
“Because he and I spoke the other day. And I just want to tell you, he emphasized: his relationship with James Harden – and he went on Twitter and expressed this as well – his relationship with James Harden, is tight. They don’t have a problem in terms of their brotherhood … their relationship.”
For Westbrook, this is simply an issue of wanting a different basketball situation. He and Harden may no longer want to play together, but that is not a reflection on their deeper and more important relationship – their friendship.
Vanessa Bryant kept it real. https://t.co/0QXhwdBf6w
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 16, 2020
“Him and James Harden are as tight as ever,” Smith continued. “They’re brothers, they always will be brothers. They’re tight.”
It’s just a business thing where them playing together on the Rockets next year is not in either party’s best interest.
“There’s a difference between reports of not wanting to play with one, as opposed to them not being tight,” Smith concluded.
Dwight Howard kept it very real. https://t.co/aE7f0VaDIA
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 14, 2020
Adam Spolane of Sports Radio 610 reported on Monday that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta “initially talked James Harden down from a desire to join Daryl Morey in Philadelphia.”
One way or another, the Rockets’ run at the top of the Western Conference is coming to an end. But if it makes fans feel any better – the personal relationship between Westbrook and Harden is still as strong as ever.