Rockets’ Bold James Harden ‘Plan B’ Targets, Revealed

Keldon Johnson, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, NBA Trade Rumors, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Houston Rockets believe superstar guard James Harden will sign with them this NBA offseason, but the franchise wants to make other transactions as well.

According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, the Rockets plan to target Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets guard Cameron Johnson, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves this offseason.

Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley, Utah Jazz shooting guard Jordan Clarkson, and Golden State Warriors combo guard Donte DiVincenzo are also three names Iko mentioned.

“Former franchise player and current 76ers guard James Harden is the top target for Houston in free agency, according to league sources, representing the veteran leadership and elite point guard needed to establish structure and offensive cohesion,” Iko wrote. “Outside of Harden, other high-ranking targets for Houston include Brook Lopez, Dillon Brooks and restricted free agents Cam Johnson and Austin Reaves, league sources said.

“They also said acquiring a veteran point guard is Houston’s primary objective, meaning even if a move for Harden didn’t materialize, names like Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Donte DiVincenzo and even former Rockets player Chris Paul could be considered should they become available.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers & Houston Rockets Updates

The Rockets have the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and nearly $60 million in cap space. Houston won only 22 games this season, but it could compete for a playoff spot next season with Harden back in the fold.

A future Hall of Famer, Harden averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists this season for the Philadelphia 76ers while shooting 44.1% from the field, 38.5% from beyond the arc, and 86.7% from the free-throw line. The lefty and former MVP led the NBA in assists per game.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers & Houston Rockets Updates

The Rockets hired former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who recently spent time with guard Jalen Green in Los Angeles. Udoka is big on building relationships.

“It’s been great,” Udoka told The Athletic last week. “I’ve gotten the chance to spend a lot of time with the players. Got some lunches, dinner, gym time with guys. Also been busy putting together a staff, getting to know everybody, but the most important thing is to spend time with the guys, build a relationship with them, and I’ve done quite a bit of that.”

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About Ashish Mathur 2296 Articles
Ashish is an NBA writer for NBA Analysis Network. He has been featured on many publications, including, ClutchPoints, Sportscasting and Celtics Wire. You can follow Ashish on Twitter @amathur25.