According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the Rockets are increasingly expanding their trade options for Harden beyond his preferred destinations of the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Additionally, the report states that a number of playoff-caliber teams in the Eastern and Western conferences have indicated that they are finding increased comfort in committing high-level trade assets in talks to acquire Harden, with the Rockets currently engaged on several fronts and communicating those scenarios with Harden.
Teams are also reportedly feeling less inhibited about trading for Harden without an assurance that he would re-sign once he can become a free agent in two years, per the report.
The Sixers could be willing to include Ben Simmons in a potential trade with the Rockets for Harden, but those talks have not come close to a deal.
The Nets may be limited in what they can offer, and may not be able to engage a third team to help facilitate a trade.
“I can only focus on right now, and for me, the best James Harden is making sure I’m in shape,” Harden said earlier this week. “Like I said, I hadn’t even had an opportunity to play 5-on-5. Individual workouts, when you do individual basketball training, is great, but as every NBA player can agree, there’s nothing like 5-on-5 training, the physicality, making reads and things like that. Yesterday for my first time being out there, I felt good, and that’s exciting.”