Rockets GM claims James Harden’s final comments with team didn’t trigger Nets trade

Ryan Young
·Writer
·2 min read

Though James Harden’s final moments with the Rockets were full of some very critical comments about the organization, Houston general manager Rafael Stone insisted on Sunday that their decision to trade the star to the Nets had nothing to do with Harden’s words.

Harden did not hold back about the state of the franchise on Tuesday night, just hours before he was set to Brooklyn in a huge four-team deal.

“We’re just not good enough,” Harden said Tuesday. “We don’t, obviously chemistry, talent-wise, just everything — and it was clear these last few games … I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”

Though his comments can easily be viewed as both disrespectful and a demand to be traded — Harden made that request this past offseason, and was late to training camp while making that point clear — Stone said that it simply had nothing to do with the timing of the trade.

“I can guarantee you it did not affect us at all,” Stone said, via ESPN.

“He came to the decision he came to, and we all will move forward. He's a great basketball player. I wish him nothing but the best."

James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets
James Harden made his debut for the Nets on Saturday. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Draft picks ‘are the best currency’

Stone declined to elaborate on any other offers they received for Harden. Perhaps the best part of the deal wasn’t the players they received out of the four-team deal — Houston landed Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs in the trade that included the Pacers and the Cavaliers — but the draft picks.

The Rockets landed four future first round draft picks, two of which are for the 2022 draft, and four future first-round pick swaps with the Nets.

"I don't think it's appropriate to talk about the other [offers]," Stone said, via ESPN. "I would say what's super exciting about this deal is it gives us flexibility. In the NBA, picks, especially high picks, are the best currency. Everybody likes them. Everybody values them. That was great organizationally. It gave us flexibility to do different types of deals as they come up this year, next year or whatever.”

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