Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets remain patient in the James Harden situation as the disgruntled star expressed his opinion publicly that the team is nowhere near other contenders like the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Rockets ‘have had active trade discussions with “more than a half dozen teams”‘, and have been communicating with Harden about those options.

Harden has made clear that he does not believe the Rockets are in place to win a championship and demanded a trade prior to the start of the season.

The Rockets lost four-out-of the last five games with Harden in their starting lineup. In the past four games, the three-time scoring champion had less than 20 points.

Houston set the parameters of a potential deal at the start of the season, demanding a young star and three first-round picks in return for the 2018 MVP.

Harden stated that Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Miami are among his preferred destinations according to several reports from the start of the season.