In various reports, the word is out that Houston Rockets’ stars, James Harden and Russell Westbrook are “concerned” with the direction the organization is going.
It’s been an offseason of change in Houston. Stephen Silas is replacing Mike D’Antoni as head coach. Darryl Morey has moved on to Philadelphia. Rafael Stone has replaced him at the general manager position.
Harden and Westbrook have earned a right to express their concern (maybe not in public). Both players are at the stages of their career when not having a ring becomes more of a concern. And to be fair to Harden, he hasn’t requested a trade. The same can’t be said for Westbrook.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 12, 2020
In Harden’s case, there have been chances in Houston where they out and out blew it and he was part of the reason. Whether it was because he was worn down from playing so much iso-ball or he was starring in the role of being choke artist, he’s been at the center of the collapses.
Rockets fans can’t catch a break.
2017: Lose to Spurs without Kawhi
2018: CP injury / 27 straight missed 3s
2019: Lose to Warriors without KD
2020: Backdoor-swept by Lakers
Now: Morey/D’Antoni leave and Russ wants out pic.twitter.com/9VqSEG5NqI
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 12, 2020
Westbrook had two credible chances, both in Oklahoma City. They lost in the finals to the Miami Heat (2012) and a few seasons later they had a 3-1 lead on the Golden State Warriors (2016) and watched it dissipate ending with Kevin Durant cowardly departure to Oakland.
At the end of the day, this all could be a blessing in disguise for Silas. Think about it. Houston can get some quality assets for both players. Westbrook’s contract might be a bear to move but it can be moved. A mix of capable vets and draft picks could set up Houston for the future.
Furthermore, it can give Silas instant credibility with the locker room. If Harden and Westbrook stay, you have a locker room with vets who know their two main players don’t believe Silas can lead them. That’s not a good thing for a first year coach especially one that has spent damn near 20 years being an assistant.
A new roster would bring a new locker room. Silas’ voice could grow along with the new direction the organization would be going in. It could also pump some excitement into an organization that sorely needs something other than Harden dribbling the ball 25 times a possession.