The Houston Rockets are in absolute turmoil going into the new season. After another disappointing playoff exit, the Rockets made several changes.
The Rockets sacked head coach Mike D’Antoni and replaced him with Steven Silas. Additionally, Rockets GM Daryl Morey departed to pursue a job with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The appointment of Silas came as a surprise. Prior to his appointment, Silas never had a head coaching position. However, he has 20 years of experience as an assistant coach.
There were several big coaching names that were rumored to take the Rockets job. Doc Rivers, Tye Lu, and Jeff Van Gundy were rumored to be front runners for the head coach position for the Rockets.
After the new changes were appointed, the Rockets were expected to change tactics and run it back with their current squad. However, reports emerged that Russell Westbrook and James Harden demanded a trade. Both players want to leave.
For the Rockets, this news came as a big shock. Harden is the franchise player for the Rockets since he joined the franchise in 2012. After multiple partnerships with different All-Stars, championship victory still remained a distant dream for the Rockets.
Houston Rockets unhappy with Harden and Westbrook
Westbrook arrived at the Rockets in 2019, after leaving OKC. It was a reunion between Harden and Westbrook, and the two players became one of the best duos in the NBA.
But another exit from the Playoffs meant both players calling time with the Rockets. Harden wants to maximize his chances to win an NBA championship and doesn’t see that happening with the Rockets. Harden wants a reunion with former teammate Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.
The Houston Rockets must now try to find a decent trade package in return for Westbrook and Harden, respectively. Given the caliber and stature of the two players, the Rockets can expect a decent return of packages and players in order to begin their rebuild.
But it appears as though the Rockets front office is not happy with the duo. Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported that the Rockets owner Tilman Fertita wanted Jeff Van Gundy as head coach.
He said, “Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta preferred Jeff Van Gundy for coach, sources say, while Harden and Westbrook wanted Tyronn Lue. Silas was to be the brokered compromise, but both star players chose to try to push their way out after he was hired anyway.”
This news complicates matters for the Rockets, given that it was the request of Westbrook and Harden that led to Silas’ hiring. And now the two players want to leave. Fertitta cannot be happy with the behavior of Westbrook and Harden.
It will be interesting to see the future of Harden, Westbrook, and the Houston Rockets and whether the two parties remain together before the new season starts on December 22nd.