NBA rumors: Rockets sought Michael Porter Jr. in James Harden trade with Nuggets

By Vincent Frank
Sep 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after getting called for a foul in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple teams have called up the Houston Rockets since NBA rumors suggested a James Harden trade could potentially happen. This came after his trade demand became public record.

As certain doors close as it relates to a James Harden trade, other doors have opened. Apparently, the Rockets have recently engaged in trade talks with the Denver Nugget that would send the three-time reigning NBA scoring champion to Colorado.

Related: Bold predictions for 2020-21 NBA season

NBA rumors: Rockets sought Michael Porter Jr. in James Harden trade talks

NBA rumors: Nuggets turned down Michael Porter Jr. for James Harden trade
Sep 7, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) dunks over LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and forward Montrezl Harrell (5) during the second half of game three of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“The Nuggets were one of numerous teams the Houston Rockets called to gauge interest about a potential James Harden trade. Those talks didn’t gain any traction, however,” Mike Singer of the Denver Post reported on Tuesday. “Houston’s interest centered firmly on Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr., the source said.”

It’s no surprise that the Rockets would demand Porter Jr. in any trade talks with Denver. They are said to be looking for blue-chip young players and draft picks. This youngster would qualify as that.

Porter, 22, averaged 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds on 51% shooting from the field for the Nuggets as a first-year player last season after the former first-round pick missed his entire rookie campaign to injury. Prior to said injury at Missouri, Porter Jr. was considered a likely top-five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He showed that big time during the NBA restart in Orlando, averaging 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds, playoffs included.

This is one of the primary reasons NBA rumors suggest that Porter Jr. is untouchable in trade talks, even for someone of James Harden’s ilk. Also complicating matters here is the fact that Houston would have to take back the contracts of Gary Harris and Will Barton in order to make the salaries work. That would leave the championship-contending Nuggets thin out on the wing.

NBA rumors: James Harden trade scenarios

NBA rumors: Where we stand in a James Harden trade

NBA rumors: James Harden trade
Dec 15, 2020; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden leaves the court after a victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Mandatory Credit: Mike Wyke/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

There’s a lot of moving parts here. What we do know is that NBA rumors suggest that a rift is growing between James Harden and his Rockets organization, players included.

Since he requested a trade, Harden has been seen in Georgia and Las Vegas partying in violation of the NBA COVID-19 protocols. Other NBA rumors suggest that the culture in Houston right now is toxic on the eve of the team’s 2020-21 regular-season debut against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

For the Rockets and first-year head coach Stephen Silas, time is not on their side. If the situation between James Harden and Houston continues to spiral out of control, his trade value will decrease. In the process, the situation could become even more toxic for an organization coming off another premature playoff exit and that just traded away another former NBA MVP in that of Russell Westbrook.

Related: NBA Power Rankings – Los Angeles Lakers top dog, Houston Rockets now bottom three.

NBA rumors: What teams remain in on a James Harden trade?

The Miami Heat just recently bowed out of James Harden trade talks. And while some NBA rumors suggest that the Philadelphia 76ers are willing to offer up Ben Simmons, their front office has thrown that idea out the window. Meanwhile, the Clippers’ decision to sign Paul George to a massive extension will prevent them from chasing after a James Harden trade.

As for the previous leaders in the clubhouse, recent rumors suggest that the Brooklyn Nets are unlikely to land Harden. As for the Golden State Warriors, their interest in the three-time reigning NBA scoring champion predated a recent injury to Klay Thompson.

Everything appears to be up in the air as it relates to NBA rumors suggesting a James Harden trade could soon be coming.