Below is a complete chronological timeline which maps out the various events that’ve surrounded the Houston Rockets as of late – from September up till Draft Day. What has legs & what’s fake news? No one knows! Will the Rockets blow it up? It’s looking like a definite maybe at this point… Will Woj drop a bomb 2 minutes after this blog gets posted? There’s not a doubt in my mind. All times are listed in the Central Standard Time Zone, enjoy the chaos.
September 13th, 2020 – 1:11PM
Woj drops the first bomb that’s aimed towards dismantling the Rockets’ empire: “Mike D’Antoni plans to inform Houston ownership that he’s becoming a free agent and won’t return to coach the Rockets next season.”
October 15th, 2020 – 11:05AM
Houston suffers their next critical hit from a Woj bomb, and this one hurts a little more: “ESPN Sources: Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is stepping down.”
October 28th, 2020 – 11:57AM
Woj unveiled the fate of Houston’s ex-GM when he wrote “conversations between the Sixers and Daryl Morey started shortly after his departure from Houston, escalated in recent days and will culminate with Morey becoming the 76ers new President.”
October 28th, 2020 – 3:52PM
“Dallas Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas is finalizing a deal to become the next head coach of the Houston Rockets.” -Woj
October 30th, 2020 – 9:00AM
“Mike D’Antoni (is) finalizing an assistant coaching deal to reunite with Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash.” -Woj
November 3rd, 2020 – 1:22PM
Bleacher Report leaks a Shams report claiming that the 76ers are “expected to be interested in and pursue” James Harden, but disclaims that as of the moment, the Rockets aren’t looking to trade the beard.
November 6th, 2020 – 1:11PM
In an interview on First Take with Stephen A. Smith & Max Kellerman, new Rockets head coach Stephen Silas reveals that Russ & Harden are a huge part of why he took the job, point blank saying that “I expect them to be here.”
November 11th, 2020 – 8:16AM
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (AKA Woj) & Tim MacMahon reveal that, after learning of Harden & Westbrook’s uncertainty surrounding the organization’s direction, Houston’s front office has become “fearful” of losing its 2 superstars. It’s clarified that neither has yet requested a trade, but that it’s a “possible eventual possibility“.
November 11th, 2020 – 3:07PM
“James Harden has not been answering the phone for ownership or the front office for about 2 weeks now. Russell Westbrook is not happy.” -Kendrick Perkins (via The Jump)
November 11th, 2020 – 3:37PM
The Miami-based 5 Reasons Sports Network writes that “If he were to request a trade from Houston… James Harden reportedly has Miami, Brooklyn & Philadelphia on his wish list.”
November 11th, 2020 – 6:13PM
Bleacher Report drops a line from Shams Charania (The Athletic/Stadium) that shakes NBA Twitter… “Breaking: Russell Westbrook wants to leave the Rockets.”
November 11th, 2020 – 6:28PM
Sources tell The Athletic (Shams Charania & Kelly Iko) that Houston’s James Harden remains committed to the Rockets and is “locked-in” for the season.
November 11th, 2020 – 9:09PM
More people unhappy in Houston, as reporting from The Athletic reveals that “Eric Gordon was not pleased with how his role and importance had diminished since the 2016-17 season.”
November 12th, 2020 – 11:55AM
“I’m telling you what I’ve heard: they don’t want to play with each other anymore. Russell Westbrook doesn’t want to play with James Harden. James Harden doesn’t want to play with Russell Westbrook.” -Stephen A. Smith (via First Take)
November 15th, 2020 – 3:51PM
Sources tell ESPN (Woj, Ramona Shelburne & Zach Lowe) that one possible trade destination rising to the top of James Harden’s list is Brooklyn, and that the idea of reuniting with KD / joining Kyrie Irving is resonating with Harden.
November 15th, 2020 – 3:52PM
Woj quickly reiterates – “Sources: the Rockets are telling teams that they plan to “run it back’ with Harden this season, and that so far, there have been no trade talks between Rockets & Nets.”
November 16th, 2020 – 1:43PM
Sources at The Athletic tell Shams that James Harden wants to be on a contender elsewhere, and that the Nets & Sixers appear to be his top preferred destinations. Houston expressed that they wouldn’t accept an undervalued trade offer, and that they’re completely comfortable keeping Harden & Westbrook into the start of the season.
November 16th, 2020 – 7:46PM
Mini Woj Bomb! “Sources: After turning down an extension to become the first $50M/year player in league history, James Harden’s message to Houston is clear: Get me to Brooklyn. Rockets & Nets have been in contact, but there’s no meaningful dialogue.”
November 16th, 2020 – 10:26PM
Bigger Woj Bomb! “The Rockets are finalizing a trade to send Robert Covington to Portland for Trevor Ariza and 2020 first-round pick and 2021 protected first-round pick, sources tell ESPN.” The Rockets now own the 16th overall pick in Wednesday’s draft.
November 17th, 2020
Woj exclaims on Tuesday’s episode of the ESPN Daily Podcast that Russell Westbrook was not the issue in Houston; he complements the various physical and mental sacrifices Russ made trying to make this fit work, and defends Westbrook’s frustration with Harden. He reminds listeners that Harden is the one who pushed for the Rockets to give up draft picks in order to aquire Russ, and now he wants to bail on the whole opperation just a year later, despite having more influence over the organization than any player could hope for. [paraphrasing]
November 17th, 2020 – 12:00PM
Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets out: “Charlotte and the Knicks are the only teams with verified interest in Russell Westbrook, sources say… interest with many caveats.”
November 17th, 2020 – 12:02PM
TMZ blows up a report from Bleacher Report/ FS1’s own Ric Bucher, who claims that one of the reasons why James Harden wants out of Houston is due to Rocket’s owner Tilman Fertitta’s support of Donald Trump.
November 17th, 2020 – 2:05PM
Chris Broussard from Fox Sports floats the rumor that KD wants James Harden in Brooklyn, but Kyrie does not.
November 17th, 2020 – 2:09PM
Anthony Puccio of the New York Daily News tries to drop a bomb of his own – “REPORT: Nets and Rockets have a “verbal agreement” to send James Harden to the Nets.”
November 17th, 2020 – 2:51PM
Reporting from The Athletic claims that the Rockets aren’t too interested in dealing Harden to Brooklyn, unless the deal involves KD or Kyrie.
November 17th, 2020 – 2:57PM
Kevin O’Connor, from The Ringer breaks a nugget that puts a big ole raincloud over the ‘James Harden to Philly’ parade – “Will Tilman Fertitta trade James Harden to Daryl Morey? I’ve been told probably not. I thing Daryl Morey will offer a lot more than Ben Simmons, but I’ve still been told it’s unlikely that Tilman will trade him to Daryl Morey.”
November 17th, 2020 – 3:14PM
Just 17 minutes later, O’Connor throws even more gas on the fire by telling the NBA world that Brooklyn is currently throwing the “kitchen sink” at Houston in a potential trade for James Harden… “All of it. All Future Picks, all Pick Swaps, and LeVert and Dinwiddie.”
November 17th, 2020 – 3:18PM
A joint piece from Kelly Iko & David Aldridge for The Athletic sheds more light on why James Harden became so frustrated… “Under the ownership of Tilman Fertitta, who league sources maintain is hellbent on reducing payroll and getting the Rockets out of the luxury tax for the foreseeable future.” Trying to drive home where the real issue lies here, they continue… “Harden is also building his own restaurant/bar in Houston, according to a source familiar with developments. There is a lot of mutual love that excists between him and the city.”
November 17th, 2020 – 3:27PM
Piggybacking off of earlier reporting from Kelly Iko & David Aldridge, Bleacher Report sends a tweet promoting that rapper Meek Mill is trying to convince James Harden to come to the 76ers.
November 17th, 2020 – 3:38PM
Marc Stein reports via the New York Times’ On Basketball newsletter that the Rockets will sign free agent Jae’Sean Tate on Friday, a guy who was coached in Sydney by new assistent Will Weaver, and a player that the organization is very high on. He also adds on his own trade-bait take by writing that “there is belief in some league corners that the Hornets’ desire to trade for Russell Westbrook could increse if they miss out on LaMelo Ball in Wednesday’s draft.”
November 17th, 2020 – 4:16PM
Marc Stein hints again at the growing possibility of Westbrook to Charlotte, writing that there are “multiple voices in the (Knicks) organization” that have concerns about trading for Russell Westbrook.
November 17th, 2020 – 4:23PM
Brandon Robinson from Heavy.com says that a 3rd team has entered the bearded sweepstakes, and that the “Celtics are making a late push for Harden. They’re trying to flip Kemba Walker & Gordan Heyward for picks & young assets that’d appeal to Houston, frantically.”
November 17th, 2020 – 5:00PM
Shams adds some flair to the chaos surrounding Houston’s other star, reporting that the Rockets & Wizards have discussed a trade centered around John Wall for Russell Westbrook, but with no traction yet, as the Rockets are still seeking more assets.
November 17th, 2020 – 6:09PM
Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald disputes Brandon Robinson’s earlier claim that had Boston franticly gunning for Harden. He reports per a league source on the Celtics’ view of a potential James Harden deal: “No interest.”
November 17th, 2020 – 6:31PM
Tim MacMahon tweets – “Source: Rockets looking to buy a late first – or early second-round pick in Wednesday’s draft. Houston wants to continue stockpiling assets after getting two firsts from Portland in Robert Covington trade.”
November 17th, 2020 – 6:51PM
Tim MacMahon is back after just 20 minutes to kindle the fire that’s roaring in Houston. He reveals a quote from a top-level executive in the Rocket’s organization who claims that “we’re willing to get uncomfortable” and that Houston “feels no pressure” to trade Russell Westbrook or James Harden. The team is demanding a young star + a massive amount of picks for Harden & either young talent or first-round picks for Russell Westbrook.
November 17th, 2020 – 8:05PM
On NBA TV’s pre-draft show, Woj stated that he’s hearing that the Rockets are planning to stall James Harden trade talks for the moment, and believes that the former MVP is likely to start training camp as a member of the Houston Rockets.
November 18th, 2020 – 9:10AM
Jason Dumas, Sports Director for KRON4 News, makes the idea of James Harden to Philly seem even more unreasonable when he writes: “Source: There is a growing belief in Sixers FO that they won’t be able to land James Harden without including Ben Simmons. But I’m told that Daryl Morey is working on something else significant and it’d allow the Sixers to keep Ben & Joel.”
November 18th, 2020 – 10:27AM
“There has been no contact between the Nets and the Rockets the past couple days… [Houston is] trying to see if they can repair this relationship.” -Woj (via Get Up)
November 18th, 2020 – 5:50PM
“Houston is Trading Ariza and the No. 16 pick tonight to Detroit for a future first-round pick, sources tell ESPN. The deal gives the Rockets – a hard-capped team — the freedom to use their mid-level exception in free agency.” -Woj
November 18th, 2020 – 5:52PM
“The Rockets are purchasing Detroits 2021 second-round pick — via the Lakers — for $4.6M, sources tell ESPN.” -Woj
-Taylor A. Jackson (@lilbrotaylor)