ROCKETS RELAUNCH

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 commit...you 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 antics...it'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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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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