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Mendoza: Harden and Manuel cases entwined

All Write

James Harden has gotten his wish to leave Houston. Good for him—and Houston, too.

Long before the current NBA season was on, Harden, the defending two-time scoring champion, had wanted out of Houston. Unhappiness had set in. That was as obvious as Sinovac’s entry into the national consciousness soon.

In his hiatus, Harden had indiscretion issues, like incurring a US$50K fine for not wearing a mask in public and attending a party of more than 10 persons in violation of league health rules amid the pandemic. He was absolutely disoriented.

When trading was finally over, Harden regained his peace of mind.

For one, Harden got reunited with his former teammate, the inimitable Kevin Durant. For another, Harden’s entry into Brooklyn completed a terrific trio for the Nets aka DHI: Durant-Harden-Irving (Kyrie).

But why are some quarters saying Houston got shorthanded in the Harden trade, arguing that Houston acquired inferior talent in the player-swap?

In a sense, yes. There was not a single established star involved in the exchange that can approximate Harden’s skills and gift.

While that may be true, Houston would benefit in the end because what is the use of keeping a superstar that doesn’t have the heart and the usual affection anymore to play as a true-blue Rocket?

He’d only be a deadweight rather than a buoyant force for Houston.

That’s really the essence of the trading process. At times, you’d lose a certified star but, in the long run, it’d redound to the benefit for both: the player finding a new home that’d make him happy again, and the team relieving itself of an asset transformed into a thorn when left unreleased.

Which brings us to the case of Vic Manuel, whose wish to leave Alaska would also be as valid as Harden’s departure from Houston.

Like Harden, Manuel isn’t also happy with Alaska anymore and has openly declared a wish to join either Phoenix or San Miguel Beer, if not NLEX.

And so, like Houston, Alaska should take heed and start negotiations to release Manuel.

A team cannot hope to attain success by keeping a player that wishes to leave.

That’s a sad reality all PBA teams must take to heart—now and forever.


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