The story of the offseason was James Harden's desire to leave the Houston Rockets. There was a lot of buzz around the NBA regarding a potential move to the Brooklyn Nets to team up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant but that never happened.
Now, with Spencer Dinwiddie out for the season, the Nets are also pretty much out from Harden's sweepstakes, as they no longer have an appealing trade offer. The Philadelphia 76ers were also reportedly interested in making a run at him but they refuse to include Ben Simmons on a trade, which is a massive deal-breaker.
Thus, it seems like the ball is on the rest of the league's court regarding Harden right now. He's still under contract for more years and the Rockets put together a competitive core, so they're in no rush to trade him whatsoever.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst Says The Rockets Would Want Pascal Siakam And Multiple First-Round Picks For James Harden
But, should the Toronto Raptors make a move at The Beard as it's been rumored lately, Brian Windhorst of ESPN says that they would have to include Pascal Siakam, Malachi Flynn, and multiple first-round picks on any potential offer for the former MVP:
“I’m sure it would have to be Siakam. I’m not sure, let me step back, but I would guess that the Rockets would want Malachi Flynn and then you’re looking at multiple first-round draft picks into the future. Probably lightly protected or unprotected. Siakam is a guy that still has a lot of value because he can play multiple positions, he defends, he plays both ends of the court, when he’s right — he’s not really right right now — and he’s signed to a long-term contract. You wouldn’t be trading for a guy you’d have to worry about. But still, I think Houston would want him and a bunch of other stuff and that’s where you get into difficulty," Windhorst said.
The Raptors have been struggling to start the season and it's clear that they need a scoring punch if they want to make it back to the NBA Finals. The Rockets would still have John Wall, Eric Gordon, Christian Wood, PJ Tucker, DeMarcus Cousins, and Danuel House under contract plus Siakam and multiple assets.
This would be a win-win scenario for everybody involved as Harden hasn't changed his stance on his desire to leave Houston. Then again, whether Masai Ujiri will pull the trigger on such an aggressive move again remains to be seen.