Examining the James Harden trade and everything that led up to it

Farewell to The Beard.Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After another tough loss against the Los Angeles Lakers, James Harden finally admitted that he no longer wants to play for the Houston Rockets. Harden started showing signs after a loss to the Indiana Pacers by only scoring 14 points off 14 shots. Honestly, that is unlike Harden to shoot 14 times a game.

"Just not good enough ... I love this city," as Harden told the media Tuesday night after a Rockets' loss. "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."

In Harden's last four games, engagement wasn't the problem, but his usage rate dropped tremendously from 35 percent to 28 percent. A naked eye could figure out Harden was forcing himself out of Houston. Ever since training camp, Harden has put in multiple trade requests, including showing up to camp late and adding on extra weight. Harden created a chaotic situation for the Rockets Tuesday night by asking for a trade during his media session.

Harden even managed bashing the Rockets' roster and their chemistry on the court. It was shocking to see Harden turn on his teammates, so he could leave Houston. John Wall has done everything to make their chemistry work in the backcourt. Stephen Silas has also defended Harden countless times during media sessions.

"We're just not good enough. Chemistry, talent wise. And it was clear these last few games," as Harden told the media.

Wall mentioned building a relationship with Harden in the backcourt has been hard.

"I think it's been a little rocky, can't lie about that. I don't think it's been the best it could be, to be honest. That's all I really could say," as Wall told the media.

He also defended this team when Harden criticized the Rockets' potential. Wall believes it takes everyone 1-15 to build something special on the court. He believes that everybody should buy-in and that one player can ruin potential by being selfish.

"Like I told everybody tonight, when the 1-15 guys are all on the same page and they all will be fine. But when you have certain guys in the mix that don't want to buy-in as one, it's gonna be hard to do anything special as a basketball team...It hurts," as Wall told the media. "If we can all get on the same page, we can be something good here. We can't dwell down on it because it's only been 9 games. Come on, man. You're going to jump off the cliff off of 9 games? There's a lot of basketball still to be played."

As Wednesday afternoon approached, Silas mentioned it wasn't the best idea for Harden to come to practice. Honestly, the Rockets' organization likely made the decision, so no feuds happened in the locker room or practice. The Rockets have lost four out of five games within two weeks, and they play the San Antonio Spurs Thursday night on TNT. After practice, DeMarcus Cousins sounded off on Harden's comments, which was entertaining.

"The disrespect [from James Harden] started way before any interview. Just the approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, antics off the court. I mean the disrespect started way before. So this isn't something that all of a sudden happened last night," as Cousins sounded off during his press conference. "Other 14 guys in the locker room have done nothing to him. For us to be on the receiving end of disrespectful comments and's unfair to the rest of the guys in the locker room."

Things started to get spicy as trade rumors started surfacing from the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets again. The Rockets were able to complete a four-team trade, so they could send Harden to the Nets for Caris LeVert, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, and four first-round draft picks. Rafael Stone the Rockets GM was able to trade LeVert for Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers. The Rockets should have kept LeVert who is still under a contract while Oladipo is a free agent for this summer. Hopefully, Stone can offer Oladipo an extension if he is healthy and the Rockets make the playoffs, which they should.

Since Harden is finally gone, hopefully the Rockets can focus on the rest of the season. This will help Silas figure out the roster even more when it comes to minutes. All of the drama is now over so let's play basketball and focus on implanting Oladipo into the offense.

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With spring training just around the corner, Yuli Gurriel's future with the Houston Astros is still up in the air. We're hearing rumblings that manager Dusty Baker would like to get Yuli back on the club, but nothing has come to fruition.

We also heard from the Astros new GM Dana Brown and his thoughts on Yuli returning to the club.

“The realistic thing is we have Abreu at first base right now. So at the end of the day, we have to look at maybe some other spots … to strengthen the club, give Dusty [Baker] more options.”

Brown's quote doesn't give us a lot of optimism. Based on his statement, he may not see Yuli as anything more than a first baseman at this stage in his career, and the Astros could use a utility player.

On the positive side, we received an encouraging update on Michael Brantley's health, as his recovery is on schedule and he plans to participate in batting practice next week.

Be sure to check out the video above as we analyze what the updates mean for the Astros moving forward.

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