Is James Harden dedicated to the Rockets? ‘Need to ask him,’ new coach says

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Is James Harden committed to the Rockets? 'Have to ask him,' new coach says

Rockets' first year coach Stephen Silas shifted when asked about James Harden's involvement in the franchise amid trade rumors.

Harden reportedly wants to be sold to the Nets where he would reunite with former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant and team up with Kyrie Irving.

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The conversation about Harden's future was deepened after Russell Westbrook was handed over to the Wizards on Wednesday in exchange for John Wall.

Harden was absent from Houston's first training camp on Sunday due to coronavirus logs, so Silas asked questions about the 2017-18 NBA MVP.

"That's a question you have to ask him when he's here," said Silas after being asked about the guard's involvement.

"We look forward to having him here and coming to his individual training. That's the word I heard from the pipeline," added Silas. "Once he's here, obviously the best communication for me is face-to-face communication – no text, no phone, nothing else.

"I'm looking forward to him coming over here, coming into the building, and then we can talk about what's best. But you know, that's kind of work right now."

ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported Sunday night that a source told him Harden would be reporting to the team "soon".

Source: James Harden did not return to Houston for his expected one-on-one training on Sunday evening, but did inform Rockets management that he would be reporting on it soon.

– Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 7, 2020

Last season, Harden and his assists averaged 52.4 points per game. This was followed by 53.9 points in 2018-19, 51.3 in 2017-18 and 56 in the previous season. It was four consecutive seasons with more than 50 points per game that tied Oscar Robertson (1963-64 to 1966-67) for the longest series in NBA history.

Harden averaged 34.3 points, 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game in 2019-20 for the Rockets who lost in the Western Conference semifinals at Walt Disney World Resort.

"I'm not exactly sure which tires he has to jump through to train with the team," said Silas.

"I would just say I want him here and I want him to be a big part of what we do," he added. "I'm looking forward to coaching him and making him part of what we just had with a good workout with a group of people working hard on both ends of the floor and having a good vibe about them."

The Rockets will open their 2020-21 season against Thunder on December 23, after clashes with the Bulls and Spurs in the preseason.