Report: James Harden And Russell Westbrook ‘Expressed Concern’ About The Direction Of The Rockets

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a gigantic franchise overhaul this offseason. The team parted ways with head coach Mike D’Antoni, while longtime executive Daryl Morey left at the end of this season. The former was replaced with highly-respected first-time coach Stephen Silas, and the latter was replaced internally by Rafael Stone, but Houston’s remaining two stalwarts have some concerns.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, James Harden and Russell Westbrook have both expressed some reservations “about the direction of the franchise through direct conversations or discussions with their representatives and the Rockets’ front office.” The Rockets have reportedly tried to assuage those concerns, and neither has requested a trade or anything like that yet.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, recently promoted general manager Rafael Stone and recently hired head coach Stephen Silas have emphasized that the franchise remains committed to fielding a contender while featuring the two perennial All-Stars in their primes. However, the concerns expressed by Harden and Westbrook that Houston’s window as a contender could be closing has left the organization fearful that the superstars’ commitment to remaining with the Rockets could be wavering.

Although neither player has requested a trade at this point, that scenario has become a plausible eventual possibility.

Houston’s defining characteristic in recent years has been going all-in to win, which has led to them spending a ton of money and getting rid of draft capital to build a contender. It also meant going all-in on their hyper small-ball, which had its merits but left the current roster without all that much in the form of big men.

As long as Harden is around, the Rockets will probably be in a good place, even if they go through an overhaul and Westbrook declines as he ages and starts losing the explosiveness that made him unguardable in his heyday. Still, this seems like a situation worth monitoring, especially if things go south in Houston this year.