The Houston Rockets have increased their efforts to find a potential suitor for a James Harden trade.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are viewed as the finalists, as the Nets are preparing an offer of all its future first round picks and pick swaps, according to Shams Charania.
The Rockets are pursuing a trade package from the 76ers that would be headlined by Ben Simmons and Tyrese Maxey, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
The Rockets are “increasingly determined” to complete a trade for Harden as soon as today, Stein adds.
The 76ers would also want P.J. Tucker in addition to Harden.
The Rockets’ talks with the 76ers and Nets have reportedly increased in recent days, even before Harden criticized the team in his postgame news conference after their blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
As a result, Harden was not at practice today.
“We felt that it was best for the group and best for James not to come to practice,” said head coach Stephen Silas.
The Rockets are planning to keep Harden away until a trade is done, with the front office weighing the best final offers from the 76ers and Nets, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski.
Joining the 76ers would allow Harden to reunite with former Rockets GM Daryl Morey and play alongside star center Joel Embiid, while joining the Nets would allow Harden to play alongside his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant.