James Harden and Russell Westbrook have expressed concerns about the uncertainty of the Rockets’ immediate future, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski.
The two players have expressed their concerns through direct conversations and discussions with their agents and the Rockets’ front office.
Although no trade requests have been made, that scenario has become a “plausible eventual possibility,” notes MacMahon and Wojnarowski.
Harden in particular, reportedly remains engaged with the front office in personnel discussions.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta previously stated last month that he believes the Rockets’ window for a title is still open and that there are no plans to “blow up” the roster.
Recently promoted general manager Rafael Stone also said the Rockets are still “all in” to contend.
In Stone’s first public comments since taking over for Daryl Morey, he said “adamantly” that the Rockets plan to continue pursuing championships.
“For the last eight years or so, our goal has been to win a championship because we had James Harden,” Stone said. “We’ve still got James Harden. Our goal is still to win a championship, and if you’ve got him, you’re halfway there. It’s incumbent on me and Stephen [Silas] and the whole team to figure out the rest of the whole, but the key piece is there.”
The two former MVPs are both under contract through at least the 2021-2022 NBA season, with $46.9 million (Harden) and $46.7 million (Westbrook) player options for the 2022-2023 season.
Harden, 31, has been an All-Star in all eight seasons with the Rockets and has led the NBA in scoring for the past three seasons.
Westbrook, soon-to-be 32, made his ninth All-Star appearance this past season in his first season with the Rockets.