Much of the buzz surrounding James Harden's reported trade request had died down until the star guard made some unsurprising comments following a 117-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
Tuesday's loss to the Lakers dropped the Rockets to 3-6 on the season, one of the worst records in the Western Conference. After the game, Harden only needed to make a few comments to sum up exactly how he feels about Houston's situation.
"We're not even close, honestly, to [the Lakers] -- obviously the defending champions -- and all the other elite teams out there," Harden said, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. "I mean, you can tell the difference in these last two games. Chemistry, talent-wise, everything. It's clear.
"I love this city. I've literally done everything I can. It's crazy. I don't think it can be fixed. Thanks."
Not too long after Harden's comments, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets are still engaged in trade discussions involving the three-time scoring champion. However, Houston's price is high and no deal is imminent.
James Harden's aware that the Rockets are continuing to discuss trade scenarios with teams, although no deal is imminent, sources tell ESPN. Houston's asking price remains steep, as you'd expect it would for a player of Harden's caliber. https://t.co/I4RuHgzcvU— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 13, 2021
MacMahon also reported that the Rockets are in trade discussions with "more than half a dozen" teams. He added that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta continues to assure Harden the team will find a trade for him.
While Harden waits for a trade, he has essentially quit on the Rockets, scoring less than 20 points in each of his last four games. In eight games this season, the 31-year-old is averaging 24.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game while shooting 44.4% from the field and 34.7% from deep. Harden hasn't averaged under 25 points per game since the 2011-12 campaign, his third year in the NBA and final season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Harden has named several preferred trade destinations, including the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers. It's unclear if any of those teams would be willing to pay the high price to snag him.
Until the Rockets receive a trade package they deem satisfactory, Harden will continue playing in Houston.