By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
James Harden neared publicly submitting a trade request after the Houston Rockets‘ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday. His team was blown out for a second time in a row by the defending champions.
“We’re just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise. And it was clear these last few games,” he mentioned, “I love this city. I’ve literally done everything I can. This situation is crazy. I don’t think it can be fixed. Thanks.”
He did not answer any further questions but looked as close as possible to a trade request while respecting the boundaries set by the Collective Bargaining Agreement for any player publicly demanding to be dealt, as pointed out by Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
Harden, 31, has already made it clear to the management and owner Tilman Fertitta that he wants to be traded in hope of boosting his chances for an NBA championship. His current contract runs through the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons and includes a player option for the 2022-23 season.
The Rockets have been patient so far aiming to maximize the return for the 2018 NBA MVP. However, a 3-6 start to the fresh Regular Season may force a move sooner rather than later.
Harden is averaging 24.8 points, 10.4 assists, and 5.1 rebounds over his first eight appearances, but has dropped to 17.8 points per game in his last five outings.
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