Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone claims he would again do the same deal for James Harden. Harden, who requested a trade out of the Rockets last offseason, was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team deal. The Rockets received Victor Oladipo and multiple picks but Oladipo wasn't interested in playing for the Rockets so the team traded him to the Miami Heat at the trade deadline.
"I would for sure, 100 percent, do that deal again," Stone said in a virtual media availability, per ESPN. "Again, you guys don't have the advantages of knowing everything I know, but literally no part of me regrets doing that deal.
I have not second-guessed it for a moment. "A lot of what I said about being in a position maybe to not have to be bad [to rebuild], there's some other things that we've done, too, but it's primarily that deal that's allowed us to say, 'Hey, we want to compete on a slightly quicker time frame.'
We're not going to go down this path of intentionally trying to lose games for years on end."
The Rockets have no regrets about the Harden trade
"One of your colleagues texted me the day after the trade and they said they would evaluate me in 2027," Stone said when ESPN asked how he feels about the return for Harden after trading Oladipo.
"And I told them that that was too early; they should do it in 2030. "I think we felt at the time that we did the best deal for the franchise possible. Obviously, that's my job, so I did it. Particularly given the types of things we got back, yeah, it feels like you can't possibly know how you did for multiple years -- like three, five, something like that.
But I feel good about it. I do feel good about it." The Rockets went from a steady playoff contender to one of the worst teams in the NBA as recently they lost 20 games in a row. "I'm completely unapologetic about that," Stone said.
"Organizationally, for the last five or six years or even longer, we've been all-in every year. Given the players we've had, the place that our roster has been, the team construct we've had, I think we did the right thing. That's how we find ourselves in the position that we're in today."