Reports of a Russell Westbrook trade request to the Houston Rockets leaked last week, but it could have been in response to James Harden privately angling for a trade to the Brooklyn Nets. “I heard it a number of days ago,” said Brian Windhorst on The Lowe Post of Harden’s interest in the Nets. “Guess who else heard it? Russell Westbrook. So I think Westbrook, who is kind of the forgotten man here, I think he goes in and is like ‘You’re not asking for a trade. I’m asking for a trade.’ “And so I think in the postmortem, it might have been Harden who moved first.”
February 5, 2023 | 5:35 pm EST Update
February 5, 2023 | 5:25 pm EST Update
Multiple people familiar with the Mavericks’ pre-Irving approach highlighted Tim Hardaway Jr. as a player the team would like to move. Though a strong offensive contributor when in a shooting rhythm, Hardaway’s contract is viewed as a long-term investment that doesn’t justify his streaky production while limits the Mavericks’ future financial flexibility.
The front office is not finished exploring trade options to further reshape and upgrade the roster around 23-year-old franchise cornerstone Luka Doncic, a person familiar with the Mavericks’ thinking said less than an hour after the Irving trade.
Teams have been far more interested in trading for Durant than they have had interest in Irving. The phone lines are hot in Brooklyn, where every team will make its best offer to poach the NBA’s 14th leading scorer in all-time history. Yet whether or not Durant wants to remain in Brooklyn with Irving — the only other star on the roster — out of town is unclear. Ben Simmons has missed the last four games with left knee soreness, but sources familiar with Durant’s thinking tell the Daily News the star forward has been less than enthralled with Simmons, who is averaging just 7.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and six assists per game on a max contract in Brooklyn.