James Harden appears to have made it abundantly clear he no longer wants to play in Houston.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets guard turned down a two-year, $103 million extension on top of the three years, $133 million remaining on his deal.
The extension would have made him the first $50 million per year player in NBA history.
Instead, Harden is determined to get Houston to trade him to the Brooklyn Nets where he can join forces with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and compete for a championship – something he does not believe the Rockets can do anymore.
Houston parted ways with head coach Mike D’Antoni (who is now an assistant in Brooklyn) and general manager Daryl Morey. Russell Westbrook has also expressed skepticism about Houston’s future.
The Rockets’ extension was apparently presented to Harden as a way to complete his career in Houston, but he rejected that idea.
Per Wojnarowski, the Rockets and Nets have been in contact but have not engaged in any meaningful dialogue. The Rockets have not received any indication that the Nets could deliver a package for Harden that would net them their desired massive return of assets in a potential deal.
Harden, 31, is still under contract the next three years, with an opt out clause following the 2022 season. A trade to Brooklyn is seen as a two-year play to try and win a title, according to Wojnarowski, although the Rockets can be patient to make a deal as they have the leverage.