Rival execs suggest Rockets explore trades involving Harden, Westbrook

Sam Amico

Opposing executives seem to believe more than just a coaching change is in order for the Houston Rockets, according to a report from Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

That may even mean considering trading their star-studded backcourt of James Harden and/or Russell Westbrook.

"Everything should be on the table, including moving Harden," Pincus quoted an Eastern Conference executive as saying.

A different East executive implied to Pincus that the Harden-Westbrook pairing really never seemed to hit its stride.

"I think we all realize that Harden and Westbrook aren't the perfect fit for one another," the East exec said. "But I think they might just have to move forward with those two and continue to try to build the roster around them."

The exec continued, "The [New York] Knicks might be one of the only teams that could be a fit for Westbrook. Not sure if there are any others."

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The Rockets are coming off a second straight second-round loss in the West playoffs, with former coach Mike D'Antoni stepping down after four years earlier this month.

Everyone from Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue to ESPN analyst and ex-Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy to former NBA guard Sam Cassell have been linked to the job.

That said, it's unclear if general manager Daryl Morey has spoken to any candidates yet.

"James ain't playing for [Van Gundy]," Pincus quoted a former Western Confernce executive as saying. "It's a player's league ... [Van Gundy] is going to want to practice every day."

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has said that Morey's job is safe, but the former West exec predicted it to be a short-leash type of scenario.

"But this will be Morey's last coaching hire [in Houston]," the exec told Pincus. "I promise you that."