James Harden Reportedly Turned Down $50 Million Extension Because He Wants Brooklyn Trade

Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden watch, day two. Day three? Not sure.

Monday, Shams Charania reported that the Houston Rockets mega-star wanted out and had interest in the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.

Later in the evening, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that Harden turned down an extension of 50 million dollars because he wanted to link up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the Nets.

From Woj:

“As Harden’s conversations with the Nets’ stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving ramped up in recent weeks on the West Coast, sources said the Rockets made a pitch for him to sign the maximum allowable extension — two years and $103 million on top of the remaining three years, $133 million on his current deal.

So far, Harden’s determination to get to Brooklyn has resulted in no progress toward that end. Houston and Brooklyn have been in contact but so far haven’t engaged in meaningful dialogue, sources said. The Rockets want a massive return of assets for Harden and are willing to be patient to find that in the marketplace. So far, there’s no indication the Rockets believe the Nets could deliver a package that fits that profile.”

Right, so the Nets do have draft picks to offer Houston. They’ve got an okay stockpile of non-player assets, but if Houston is understandably looking for something beyond that, what’s the return? Caris LeVert is really good. Spencer Dinwiddie? Jarrett Allen? Brooklyn has some solid pieces to send to Texas, but there’s no superstar going back in return.

Ben Simmons, however, would fit the mold, but nobody really seems to have an understanding of what Houston wants to do here. Woj says they want to keep Harden, but are they tearing the rest of the roster apart? Looking for a younger guy as a complement? They shipped Robert Covington to Portland Monday night for a pair of draft picks, which seemed like an insane return on the surface, though it’s really a mid-tier selection in an okay draft and a protected future first. Looks glossy but isn’t as juicy as it seems.

So we’re trying to figure out if the Covington trade was an indicator of something bigger, or just a one-off value play based on what Portland was willing to offer. The Blazers can slot RoCo right in there at small forward and you’ve got a really nice lineup with Damian Lillard, C.J. McColllum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins or whomever you want at the four.

If we wanna overreact, here’s a post from Harden’s Instagram:

Cryptic! What does it mean? Is the bottle’s cap representing the salary cap? Is he thirsty for a trade? Is he just promoting Body Armor?

We’ll get to the bottom of this.

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