Rockets guard James Harden reinforced his desire to be traded from the organization after Houston's loss to the Lakers on Jan. 10, according to The Athletic's Kelly Iko.
Sunday's defeat was the first of back-to-back losses to the Lakers. Los Angeles outscored Houston by a combined 35 points.
Harden reportedly understands that the Rockets' current lineup is not able to defeat the Lakers in a seven-game playoff series and just adds to his desire to compete elsewhere.
After Tuesday's loss to the Lakers, Harden addressed his current situation in Houston, calling it "crazy."
"I love this city," Harden said. "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."
The Brooklyn Nets remain at the top of Harden's preferred list of destinations, according to Iko, while other "contenders" reportedly still remain on the table. Brooklyn is reportedly preparing an offer of first-round draft picks and swaps as the Rockets sort through the finalists to acquire Harden, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania and Sam Amick. Meanwhile, Houston is reportedly pursuing a trade package from the 76ers headlined by Ben Simmons and Tyrese Maxey, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.
The Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers have previously been reported to be among Harden's preferred destinations. The eight-time All-Star wants to "maximize the window he still has" to win a championship while recognizing the Lakers are the team to beat, per Iko.
The Rockets' asking price for Harden has reportedly remained high with hopes of acquiring young players and draft picks for the franchise guard, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Harden was held out of the Rockets' practice on Wednesday, with coach Stephen Silas saying, "it was best for the group and best for James not to come to practice."
Harden is currently in the second season of a four-year, $171 million deal with a player option in 2022.
Harden has averaged 24.8 points, 10.4 assists and 5.1 rebounds on 44.4% shooting over eight games played this season. The Rockets sit at No. 14 in the Western Conference with a 3-6 record.