NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on James Harden, Michael Porter Jr. and More

NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on James Harden, Michael Porter Jr. and More

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    Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

    The 2020-21 NBA season got underway Tuesday, which means the basketball world can now turn its attention to real meaningful games.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that the drama and the intrigue of the offseason won’t bleed over just a little bit. It usually does, especially with the trade deadline not coming until late in the season. This seasbn’s trade deadline is reportedly March 25, and fans can bet that those three months will be filled to the brim with trade chatter.

    Many trades won’t be put off until the deadline, and some could even unfold on the immediate horizon. Here, we’ll examine some of the latest trade buzz entering Day 2 of the regular season.

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    One trade that could come sooner than later is one involving Houston Rockets star James Harden. While Harden was the subject of trade talks throughout the offseason, he remains with Houston—without his former teammate, Russell Westbrook.

    However, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Harden may not remain in Houston for long.

    “More current rumblings indicate that tension within the Rockets is mounting each day,” Stein wrote. “… Both sides now want to move on as quickly as possible. It’s time.”

    Harden wants out, and the Rockets seem inclined to make that happen. Finding a suitor and a fair value will be the challenge, but according to Stein, five teams could all have interest.

    “The Sixers and the Nets, though, may not be the only other options,” he wrote. “In recent days, it has become known that Toronto, Boston and Denver have also had exploratory talks with Houston.”

    As long as there remains a market for Harden, it seems inevitable that he’ll eventually be traded.

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    While the Nuggets may still have interest in acquiring Harden, early talks haven’t gone anywhere. According to Mike Singer of the Denver Post, Houston was hoping to snag forward Michael Porter Jr. as part of the deal:

    “The Nuggets were one of numerous teams the Houston Rockets called to gauge interest about a potential James Harden trade. Those talks didn’t gain any traction, however, a league source told The Denver Post. Houston’s interest centered firmly on Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr., the source said. Those talks haven’t materialized into anything substantial.”

    While Porter may have been at the center of a potential deal, he may not represent the breaking point for Denver. As Singer pointed out, other potential inclusions would have made the trade a difficult one to swallow.

    “Any potential deal would have to include Gary Harris or Will Barton, if not both, to match salaries, which would leave the Nuggets extremely thin on the wing,” Singer wrote.

    While Harden is an undeniably high-end talent, it’s not worth decimating a roster to obtain him. Presumably, the Nuggets would pursue a deal in order to better contend in the West. Without a proper supporting cast, Harden isn’t going to make that happen.

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    Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

    While Denver, along with other teams, may still consider Harden at the right price, the Miami Heat appear to be out on a potential trade. Miami made it six games into the NBA Finals and could potentially go even further with the right addition.

    According to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, however, that addition won’t be Harden.

    “The Miami Heat are not actively pursuing James Harden at this time, AP is told by a source with direct knowledge of the matter,” Reynolds tweeted. “There was preliminary talk between the teams; I would imagine almost every team had those with the Rockets.”

    At first blush, Harden seems like an odd fit for the Heat anyway. Miami made it deep into the playoffs because of its ability to play complementary team basketball. While Harden has played that style of ball in the past, he’s been more of a one-man scoring machine in recent years.

    Still, if Harden could fit in with the likes of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson, it would have make Miami a must-see team. Alas, it isn’t going to happen.

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    Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

    While the Rockets are actively shopping Harden, that doesn’t appear to be the case with veteran forward P.J. Tucker. However, if Houston is willing to make him available, he could draw quite a bit of interest on the trade market.

    According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, there would be a market for the former Israeli Super League MVP.

    “Multiple teams have expressed interest in trading for Tucker if he’s made available, league sources told HoopsHype,” Scotto wrote.

    One possibility to ponder is the idea of packaging the 6’5″ forward with Harden to forge a more attractive trade package. Houston appears headed toward a full-on rebuild, so it may not balk at the idea of swapping multiple veterans for younger players and/or draft assets.

    However, the team may also be interested in keeping the 35-year-old around for the post-Harden era. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets and Tucker have discussed an extension:

    “A week that began with Rockets forward P.J. Tucker showing frustration over stalled talks on a contract extension is ending with increased conversations about a deal for the Rockets’ veteran power forward.

    Though agreement is not considered close, a person with knowledge of conversations said ‘both sides are hopeful.'”

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