Sports

NBA news, James Harden incredible weight-gain stuns NBA world

NBA superstar James Harden has showed up for his first pre-season match for the Houston Rockets looking far more rounder than usual.

After a controversial couple of weeks in which Harden failed to show up for pre-season training amid talk of his desire to leave Houston, the sharp-shooter was eventually roped in and faced up for his first warm-up match.

But it was his appearance which left everyone baffled, with the former MVP looking far heftier than usual.

Harden has never been the skinniest player in the league, but fans were at a loss for words over his considerable weight-gain, particularly for an athlete of his calibre.

The Houston Rockets’ leading man has been locked in an off-season tussle with the team’s powerbrokers over securing a trade away from franchise.

Just last week, Harden was a no-show at the first day of training, with reports suggesting he was partying in one of Las Vegas’ many clubs.

With the Houston small-ball dream looking well and truly over and another shot a championship perhaps years away, Harden is eager to find himself in another league contender before head of his autumn years in the NBA.

The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers are understood to be his preferred landing site, but any semblance of a trade will require a lot of negotiation and massaging to get through.

The Rockets would like to keep Harden in Houston, but with the former league MVP intent on moving it will be hard to keep him pleased should he stay put.

Two weeks ago, Houston shipped off Russell Westbrook to Washington in exchange for John Wall after Westbrook’s one-year pairing with Harden didn’t pan out.

Harden is currently signed to the Rockets on a supermax $226 million (AUD) contract over four years. It will run through the 2022-23 season.

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