League sources expect Miami to remain in the race for either Harden or Beal. But the fact the Heat can only offer their 2027 first-round pick hurts their odds of making a splash, and as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst first reported in December, that caused early discussions with Houston to fizzle. – via Kevin O’Connor @ The Ringer
Teams already widely known to have interest in Harden, such as the Nets and Sixers, would unsurprisingly also have interest in Beal, league sources say. Most people around the league consider Brooklyn a fairly unlikely destination to land a star considering it lacks a high-value player or asset to put into a deal. Philadelphia, however, remains a threat to acquire anyone if Daryl Morey is willing to give up Ben Simmons. How many draft picks or young players he’d be willing to add with Simmons may be the bigger question. – via Kevin O’Connor @ The Ringer
Rockets keeping James Harden until end of season?
Front office executives around the NBA say Houston is growing more confident that Harden will be content sticking around at least through the rest of the season. Sources say Harden still prefers to be dealt, and losses like Sunday’s 18-point defeat to the Lakers won’t help Houston’s case. But Harden himself expressed optimism for Houston’s future on Saturday, telling reporters, “As long as we continue to find chemistry, we have a chance to do something special.” – via Kevin O’Connor @ The Ringer
With the Wizards in disarray, teams thirsting for a blockbuster trade are increasingly shifting their gaze toward Beal. Though James Harden captured the entire league’s focus after demanding a trade, league sources question general manager Rafael Stone’s willingness to deal him this season. The Rockets have shown promise amid a 3-5 start—John Wall resembles his pre-injury self, Christian Wood is posting All-Star numbers, and even role players like Jae’Sean Tate are excelling off the bench. – via Kevin O’Connor @ The Ringer