The NBA appears to have another social justice issue on its hands as NBA players in Houston are reportedly ready to “revolt” against their team owner due to his donations to the Republican party and his support for Donald Trump.
Rockets All-Stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook have reportedly both asked for a trade. Over the weekend, it was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Harden had turned down an extension offer that would have paid him $103 million over two years. That extension would have been in addition to the $133 million he is scheduled to make over the remaining three years on his current contract.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta purchased the team in 2017 for $2.2 billion and has never been shy about his support for President Trump. TMZ released a statement today from a spokesperson for Landry’s, which is Fertitta’s company, saying, “Throughout his business career, Tilman Fertitta has supported many individuals in public service. He has hosted numerous fundraisers for President Bill Clinton and hosted President George W. Bush in his home. Last year, he hosted a fundraiser for congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as well as supported his longtime friend, Mark Kelly, now U.S. Senator-elect of Arizona. He also contributed to President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign. As a respected business leader recognized across the country, Fertitta supports many Democrats, as well as Republicans.”
Despite the so called “revolt” or requests to be traded, the Rockets are under no obligation to do anything. The reality is, Houston has both Harden and Westbrook under contract for at least two more seasons, with both athletes having a player option in their third season.
One other interesting note, Harden has apparently made it clear he wants to go to Brooklyn and play for the Nets. Texas, where he currently plays, has no state income tax; New York on the other hand has an income tax near 9%, meaning Harden would pay out an additional $13.6 million dollars in taxes if he were to go to New York. It’s probably safe to say, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just became very interested in bringing Harden to Brooklyn.