Rockets fire sale begins amid James Harden-Nets buzz

The Houston Rockets seem to be on their way to a rebuild — with or without James Harden.

Late Monday night, the Rockets were finalizing a deal to send Robert Covington to the Blazers for veteran guard Trevor Ariza, a first-round pick in Wednesday night’s draft and a protected first-round pick in 2021, according to multiple reports.

The deal comes shortly after Harden made it clear that he wants to bolt Houston for the Nets, presumably to form the NBA’s next super team with former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Harden, the 31-year-old former MVP, declined Houston’s offer to make him the NBA’s first $50 million-a-year star — adding a two-year, $103 million extension to the three years and $133 million on his current deal, according to ESPN.

He is the second Rockets star to want out following Russell Westbrook, as several players recently have questioned the team’s culture.

The Rockets have been one of the league’s most dominant regular-season teams over the last five seasons but have failed to win an NBA title during that time.


In other big moves Monday night, the Milwaukee Bucks neared a deal to acquire Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for three first-round picks, Eric Bledsoe and George Hill. The Bucks also landed Kings forward Bogdan Bogdanovich in a sign and trade, according to ESPN.

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