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NBA Rumors: Houston Rockets Give Up James Harden In Free Agency; Dwight Howard Finally Gets Higher Pay

( [email protected] ) Apr 19, 2016 02:29 AM EDT
The Houston Rockets have built a franchise around James Harden ever since they signed him from the Oklahoma City Thunder. While his ex-teammates, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, thrived in the past NBA seasons, The Beard has been saddled with disappointing games and losses. Adding to his frustrations in the Houston Rockets is the presence of Dwight Howard - a big star that was anticipated to help Harden carry the team but appears to have turned out to be a bust so far. With the free agency coming up, reports are now surfacing that James Harden is gearing up to leave all the Houston Rockets far behind and start fresh elsewhere.
James Harden is reportedly planning to take on the vacated role of Kobe Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers roster. Alexandra Walt/Flickr CC

The Houston Rockets have built a franchise around James Harden ever since they signed him from the Oklahoma City Thunder. While his ex-teammates, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, thrived in the past NBA seasons, The Beard has been saddled with disappointing games and losses. Adding to his frustrations in the Houston Rockets is the presence of Dwight Howard - a big star that was anticipated to help Harden carry the team but appears to have turned out to be a bust so far. With the free agency coming up, reports are now surfacing that James Harden is gearing up to leave all the Houston Rockets far behind and start fresh elsewhere.

The James Harden free agency rumor mill has been busy churning out potential landing spots for the former beau of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" star Khloe Kardashian. With his potential to outscore the great Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, The Beard has been hailed as a secret weapon of the Houston Rockets. However, the current NBA season turned out to be quite disappointing for the team. Moreover, Harden has become quite dissatisfied with the standing of the Patrick Beverly squad in the NBA playoffs 2016 - a fact intensified by the criticisms he receives when the Houston Rockets lose.

"People see it over and over again, they don't appreciate it," said J.B. Bickerstaff of Harden. The Houston Rockets interim head coach added, "People see him get to the free throw line, people think 'Oh, he's flopping' and those types of things. But James has figured it out, there's an art to what he does. He scores almost 30 a night, seven assists, six rebounds, that's hard to come by. The weight he has to carry for this team, not many guys can do what he does at that level."

Akin to the situation of Carmelo Anthony in the New York Knicks, Harden has been seeking a championship since he became the franchise leader of the Houston Rockets. However, the NBA team appears to be at a loss at how to help The Beard. In fact, their latest experiment with TY Lawson ended in a disaster with the former Denver Nuggets star eventually exiting the Houston Rockets. Where will this lead Harden? With his free agency coming up, with the Houston Rockets be able to hold on to him? Or should he start anew somewhere else?

One of the NBA teams that might sign Harden once he gets in the free agency market is the Los Angeles Lakers. In the past, The Beard has been quite vocal with his admiration and respect for Kobe Bryant. Harden has always been open with his high regard for the Black Mamba - even calling the retired Los Angeles Lakers star his idol. With his recent comments, it looks like the feelings of respect and admiration are mutual as Bryant also applauds Harden and his skills in the hardwood court.

"I was sitting on the sideline watching him go off," shared Bryant of Harden. He added, "James is such a fantastic player. All I can do is sit on the sideline and shake my head at some of the plays he was making, the shots he was making. Those are difficult shots for 90 percent of the players in the league. He makes them look effortless."

Does this mean that D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson will have a new teammate soon? If James Harden goes off to try to become the next Kobe Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers roster, will Dwight Howard finally get his max contract? Without the team's biggest star, the Houston Rockets will have a sizeable cap space. Will they spend it all on Dwight Howard who is also set for free agency soon?


Tags : NBA rumors, Houston Rockets, James Harden, Dwight Howard