Harden mum on future with Rockets as NBA season approaches

Sports

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots a three-point basket over San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) during the third quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

James Harden remains a Houston Rocket with the start of the NBA’s regular season just two days away.

How he feels about that is unclear, with the superstar refusing to discuss his future or answer any questions about consistent reports that he wants to be traded.

Harden reported late to camp as rumors swirled that he no longer wants to play for the Rockets and hopes to be dealt. He played in Houston’s last two preseason games and talked about the season on Monday as the Rockets prepared for their Wednesday opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But the Beard had nothing to say when asked if he feels better about the situation in Houston now than he did when he arrived at camp, responding with a terse, “next question.”

The eight-time All-Star and 2018 MVP also seemed annoyed when asked if he is where he wants to be after missing the first week of camp.

“We keep talking about what I missed,” he said. “I think everybody, the entire league is in catch-up mode in a sense of we only had a short time for training camp, so everybody’s trying to get into game shape because obviously the season just ended a few months ago.”

Harden is the centerpiece of a team that added John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Christian Wood in the offseason. The Rockets are intent on keeping Harden as they try to contend for their first title since winning back-to-back championships in 1994-95.

While he won’t talk about his future, Harden was more than happy to discuss his expectations for himself and the team on Monday.

“My expectation never changes — individually be the best basketball player in the world,” he said. “As a team try to get in the top three seeds and then always give yourself a chance (in the playoffs). That’s the most important.”

The Rockets were the fourth seed last season. They beat Oklahoma City in the first round before being eliminated by the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.

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