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James Harden: Durant, Westbrook 'Have To Figure It Out Themselves'

Feb 19, 2017 8:24 PM

Four years before Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder via free agency, James Harden was traded by the team to the Houston Rockets.

Harden has remained close with both Durant and Russell Westbrook, who have had a famously icy rivalry in the months since Durant signed with the Warriors.

“They’re two grown men,” Harden said. “They have to figure it out themselves.”

Durant was asked how he's dealt with potential distractions.

“Sometimes it’s tough,” he said. “But when you just block it out, it’s kind of easy. Don’t look at stuff and don’t pay attention. Stuff that you guys think is important, I don’t think it’s important at all. When you look at it that way, it’s pretty easy to me.”

Scott Cacciola/New York Times

Tags: James Harden, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

Eric Gordon: Pelicans 'Always Been A Little Dysfunctional'

Feb 17, 2017 6:52 PM

Eric Gordon tried to leave the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012 when he signed an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns that was matched. When Gordon became a free agent again in 2016, he left the Pelicans to sign with the Houston Rockets and has had a bounce back season.

"Frustrated here? You know, at times. It was a little bit dysfunctional," said Gordon. "My role changed a lot. If I had the same freedom that I have here, it would have been a different result. It's always been a little dysfunctional. Not just for me, for everybody."

Gordon was asked to elaborate on what he meant about the Pelicans' dysfunction.

"Dysfunctional means -- it could mean a lot of things. Like I said, my role has changed too. That's something I wasn't expecting when I first got here, got to New Orleans. Things happen, and you move on."

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA

LeBron, Durant, Curry, Harden, Westbrook Comprise NBA's Top-5 In Total Earnings

Feb 15, 2017 1:27 PM

LeBron James is the highest-paid player in the NBA in terms of total earnings for the third straight year at $88 million. James has earned more than $600 million since turning pro in 2003. James’ salary this season is $31 million after re-signing with the Cavs this summer for three years and $99.9 million, while he'll make $55 million in off-court earnings.

James added endorsement deals with Intel and Verizon over the last year, while parting ways with Samsung and Tencent. The new partners join Nike, Coca-Cola (Sprite), Beats Electronics and Kia Motor in James’ endorsement stable with James “lifetime” Nike deal potentially worth $1 billion, according to his business manager Maverick Carter.

Kevin Durant will make the second most money this season with earnings of $62.5 million, followed by Stephen Curry at $47.1 million. Curry’s $12.1 million salary ranks No. 83 in the NBA but he will make $35 million off the court.

Rounding out the top five highest-paid NBA players are James Harden ($46.5 million) and Russell Westbrook ($41.5 million).

Kurt Badenhausen/Forbes

Tags: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA CBA

Rockets Looking For Depth In Trade Market

Feb 6, 2017 1:56 PM

Daryl Morey is unsure if the Houston Rockets will make a trade ahead of the deadline.

"It's hard to judge because it takes two. It's hard to know," Morey said. "I don't know if it makes it more or less likely, but the kinds of things you do are different. We are more likely to shore up a spot in case we take an injury. Anything we would do is more likely for depth."

The Rockets do have some draft pick assets, with their own first-round pick this season and second-rounders from the Trail Blazers and Nuggets. They just don't seem to have much motivation for breaking up their rotation.

"In some ways being good as we think we are makes it harder to do trades," Morey said. "We have a rotation that has played very well. It's hard to add anything that would into create a weakness somewhere else. If you feel the defense needs to improve, you can try to add a defensive player, but that potentially would hurt the offense unless it's a top, top-level player. Those usually aren't available."

Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

James Harden Overtakes Westbrook As Oddsmakers' MVP Favorite

Feb 1, 2017 8:52 PM

According to Bovada's odds, James Harden has surpassed Russell Westbrook as the favorite to win NBA MVP.

Harden's odds are at 10/11 compared to 5/4 for Westbrook.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard round out the five at more than 10/1 each.

Erik Horne/Oklahoman

Tags: Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

Kevin Durant Reflects On Time With Westbrook, Harden

Jan 18, 2017 11:15 PM

Kevin Durant reflected back this week on how special the Oklahoma City Thunder were earlier in his career playing beside fellow MVP candidates Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

The Thunder traded away Harden in 2012.

“It’s easy to say we were supposed to be together for the rest of our careers, but it didn’t play out like that,” Durant said. “I think all three of us will have memorable careers. And it’ll be a journey we’ll always remember, something that’s different and unique, playing with two different guys who are doing incredible things in the league right now. But when you look back, think about the fun times instead of what could’ve been.”

Durant and Westbrook were only 23 when they reached The Finals, while Harden was 22. Oklahoma City staying together is one of the greatest what-ifs in NBA history.

“No. We never looked at it that way, like we could be best of all-time,” Durant said. “It was really AAU basketball, man. We were just having fun. We weren’t listening to anyone on the outside, media, none of that. It was just pure fun. When we did hear something about the group, it was like, what is this? That was so foreign to us because we never paid attention to it.”


Durant believes Harden could have remained Oklahoma City's Sixth Man.

“I think he’d have stayed in that role. I think so,” Durant said. “He’d have still been a really great player. You look at it, a lot of people wouldn’t have looked at him as a Sixth Man. He’d have been better. I think he’d have been better. Obviously I’m sure he loves what he’s doing now, but if we would’ve won a championship, I think the perception of him would’ve just been as a great player. ‘He’s the heart, he’s what makes us go.’ That’s what his label would’ve been, instead of just Sixth Man. He would’ve probably been the best Sixth Man that ever was.”

Durant paused, looking frustrated at himself for even entertaining the question.

“But don’t even worry about that,” he said. “I don’t even want to talk about that.”

Anthony Slater/San Jose Mercury News

Tags: Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

Mike D'Antoni: James Harden Is Perfect Superstar For How I Coach

Jan 18, 2017 1:30 PM

With James Harden playing the type of basketball Daryl Morey has touted for years, he perhaps is the star the most embodies the advanced-stats ethos.

"I would say it transcends that," Morey said. "That's making it too small. I think he's maybe the greatest off-the-dribble driver of all time, in terms of his ability to create offense at a high-efficiency rate for his team."

"James Harden was the perfect superstar for how I would like to coach," said Mike D'Antoni.

Morey gambled his future as a general manager on the Harden trade.

"People always ask, 'You traded for him; did you know he was this good?'" Morey said. "I'm like, 'F--k no!' I mean, we thought he was extremely good and better than other teams probably did."

Howard Beck/Bleacher Report

Tags: James Harden, Houston Rockets, NBA

James Harden: I Was Shocked By Mike D'Antoni's Point Guard Idea

Jan 17, 2017 5:18 PM

James Harden knew Mike D'Antoni was innovative but he was surprised by the thought of playing point guard full time.

“I was shocked,” Harden said. “But I’ve always been a really good passer and a playmaker. As training camp came along and I started handling it, it came easier. I’m still learning to do it at a high level every single night. You are in control of the ball 90 percent of the game. But it feels good. Guys are getting shots, guys are happy and that’s what matters."

The Houston Rockets have a 32-11 record to begin the season with Harden playing like an MVP candidate.

D'Antoni saw a way to make Harden even better.

“I watched a lot of tape of him,” D’Antoni said. “His skills are enormous. Point guard made sense. He was that anyway. We just cut the fat off. The way he plays now, he’s making an impact every minute. So we can play him less minutes. And he’s fresher.”


Chris Mannix/Sports Illustrated

Tags: James Harden, Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Rockets Open To Trading K.J. McDaniels

Jan 13, 2017 5:19 PM

The Houston Rockets could use K.J. McDaniels in a trade before the deadline.

The Rockets were gauging the trade value of Corey Brewer at one point, but he's since moved back ahead of McDaniels in the rotation of Mike D'Antoni.

McDaniels signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Rockets in the 2015 offseason.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Tags: K.J. McDaniels, Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Donatas Motiejunas: Rockets Lost An Asset, I Lost $37M

Jan 12, 2017 12:10 PM

After a long restricted free agency, Donatas Motiejunas eventually signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans when he became an unrestricted free agent.

Motiejunas signed a four-year, $37 million offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets that was matched by the Houston Rockets, which ultimately fell apart.

“Honestly, you can say it was business stuff, but, from my side, I’m a basketball player, I just want to play,” Motiejunas said. “Being involved in that business situation, it was one of the worst experiences of my life that I’ve had. I would say, from any basketball player, we work every day, we put our sweat, we put our tears, we put our blood on the floor, try to help and make teams better, so when someone acts with you like this, it’s just wrong.”

Motiejunas was asked what he thought about losing a multi-year deal.

“The team lost an asset,” Motiejunas said. “I lost $37, 38 million, so both sides lost in this situation. No one won in this situation actually. I know, as soon as I step on the floor, the people are going to see that I’m the same guy that I was last year when I was playing. For me, I’m not going to lose anything. After this year, someone else is going to pick me up. I’m not worried about that. I know how to play basketball. I know how to make every and each team better. I adjust to the situation depending on what coach asks me to do, so I’m not worried about that. It was just a ridiculous situation, the resolution was taking too long, and it was affecting me as a player, and it was affecting me personally. Instead of being a business decision it was like more of a personal decision.”

Michael Scotto/Basketball Insiders

Tags: Donatas Motiejunas, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

Donatas Motiejunas Saw 'Best Opportunity' With Pelicans After 'Frustrating' Free Agency
Donatas Motiejunas is looking forward to returning to game action with the Pelicans for the first time in eight months after a lengthy free agency.

Justin Verrier/ESPN

Dwane Casey, Mike D'Antoni Named Coaches Of The Month
Toronto finished December with a 10-4 record (second in the East).

RealGM Staff Report

James Harden, John Wall Named Players Of The Month For December
James Harden averaged 28.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 12 assists as Rockets went 15-2.

RealGM Staff Report

Rockets Tout Character, Harmony For Turnaround
The Rockets are having great success this season with James Harden playing like a MVP surrounded by three-point shooters.

Kevin O'Connor/The Ringer

John Wall, James Harden Named Players Of The Week
John Wall led the Wizards to a 3-0 week, averaging 24.3 points, an NBA-leading 13.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.67 steals.

RealGM Staff Report

Trevor Ariza Waits To Confront Salah Mejri Outside Mavs' Locker Room
According to a source, Salah Mejri made a derogatory comment to Trevor Ariza about Ariza's wife and children.

Calvin Watkins/ESPN

Rockets Proposed Supermax Rule Of New CBA
The Rockets were the team that initially proposed the NBA's new supermax contract extension rule and pushed for it throughout the process.

Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Russell Westbrook, James Harden Will Be Grandfathered Into Super-Max
Both James Harden and Russell Westbrook signed extensions in the 2016 offseason.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertial

Clint Capela Out Four Weeks With Broken Fibula
Clint Capela was injured on Saturday after banging knees with Karl-Anthony Towns.

Hunter Akins/Houston Chronicle

DeMar DeRozan, James Harden Named Players Of The Week
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors to a 3-1 week, averaging a league-high 31.5 points on 60.5 percent shooting to go with 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

RealGM Staff Report

Rockets To Re-Sign Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown appeared in six games for the Rockets this season before he was released.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Rockets Renounce Rights To Donatas Motiejunas
The Rockets have renounced their rights to Donatas Motiejunas and he'll become an unrestricted free agent.

Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Thunder, Pacers, Rockets Have Had Interest In Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay can become a free agent this offseason and has openly suggested he isn't interested in re-signing with the Kings.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertial

Rockets, Donatas Motiejunas Hit Another Snag On Contract
The Rockets and Donatas Motiejunas agreed upon a new contract on Friday but that hit a snag on Saturday with his physical.

Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Rockets Sign Donatas Motiejunas To New Four-Year, $35M Deal
Donatas Motiejunas broke restricted free agency convention by not reporting for his physical this week.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Rockets Won't Lift Matched Offer Sheet Signed By Donatas Motiejunas
The Rockets can still theoretically agree upon a separate deal with Donatas Motiejunas though he is technically under a uniform player contract.

Calvin Watkins/ESPN

David Stern: There Was Never A Chris Paul To Lakers Trade To 'Void'
David Stern was asked about the proposed trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers that was canceled by him when the NBA were assuming control of New Orleans.

Sports Business Radio (via Ben Golliver/Sports Illustrated)

Mike D'Antoni: Rockets Have Same Philosophy, From Owner To GM To Star
The Rockets are playing with pace and efficiency on offense with their system built around James Harden.

Sam Amick/USA Today

Donatas Motiejunas At Odds With Rockets Over $6M In Lost Incentives
The $6 million difference was to be paid to Donatas Motiejunas via incentive clauses if he played for the Nets.

Calvin Watkins/ESPN

Donatas Motiejunas Won't Report To Rockets
The Rockets can leave the current deal open or return Donatas Motiejunas to restricted free agency.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical