James Harden was back wearing Houston Rockets‘ uniform, but wasn’t keen on discussing his future with the franchise from Texas. The 31-yar old shooting guard didn’t want to speak to the media following the match against the San Antonio Spurs, increasing the speculations regarding his trade.
The Rockets defeated San Antonio Spurs 112-98, with the Beard playing 21 minutes, and scoring 12 points. He was 3-for-10 from the field, having four assists, three boards, and two steals.
James Harden in action tonight. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/IUoZuRgRRI
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 16, 2020
The former MVP did his part of the job very well, and whoever saw him playing couldn’t tell that he wants to leave the Rockets.
On the other hand, what was noticeable was his weight, with Harden adding at least 15 pounds, looking significantly heavier than at the end of the previous season. The reasons for this are still unknown. Harden wasn’t with the Rockets right from the start, as he didn’t follow all the COVID-19 protocols during the offseason, and later had to be tested negative for the virus for six straight days.
That is why Houston played the first two preseason games without its best player.
What will happen with Harden is still a mystery. The Beard requested a trade, but the Rockets aren’t willing to fulfill that. There are several destinations he would like to see, among them the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
Harden was the MVP in 2018, and earned seven All-NBA selections while playing for the Rockets. He is the top scorer in the league in the past three seasons, but his team didn’t win anything. After Mike D’Antoni’s departure from Toyota Center and Russell Westbrook’s trade to the Washington Wizards, the Beard felt that it is time for him to leave as well.
As for tonight’s matchup, the Rockets began the match a bit slower, but they picked up the pace and started dominating as time went by. A very good last period solved the contest, earning them a second preseason win.
John Wall scored 15 points, with three steals and assists, DeMarcus Cousins added 7 but with 11 rebounds and four steals. Ben McLemore had 15 points off the bench.
With the Spurs, Loonie Walker IV dropped 17 buckets, while Dejounte Murray scored 13 with seven dimes and five boards. LaMarcus Aldridge contributed with 12.