Rockets’ guard James Harden says all of the media reports and speculation about an apparent rift between he and Chris Paul are false.
After the Rockets lost to the Warriors in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals, emotions were understandably running high after Houston fell short of their ultimate goal once again.
As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, James Harden and Chris Paul had heated verbal exchanges throughout Game 6 and in the locker room after the game. After Shams’ reported, other media outlets claimed that Harden and Paul’s relationship had been damaged beyond repair.
Mike D’Antoni basically summed up the reports as just the media’s eagerness to create attention-grabbing headlines for views. P.J. Tucker explained that verbal altercations among players after a big loss is normal and even claimed that he does most of the instigating on the team.
However, most people still seem to believe that Harden and Paul don’t like each other behind the scenes and Houston ultimately deciding to move Paul for Russell Westbrook seemed to give proof to those rumors.
Harden himself finally spoke about his relationship with Paul and he called all of the negative reports “false talk,” per KPRC’s Adam Wexler.
“It was a lot of false talk. Obviously, as teammates and competitors, we argue on the court. You have your disagreements on the court, your arguments on the court, but that’s just apart of basketball. I think everybody has that, no matter what level of basketball you’re in. All of the negative media stuff, it wasn’t true. Me and Chris had constant communication and we’re good.”
Harden went on to say that the false stories never bothered him because he knew the truth. Harden added that Paul helped him as a leader and mentor over the last two years, but ultimately it just didn’t work out.
Of course, most players know what not to say to the media, and Harden isn’t going to reveal anything that’s meant to be kept in the locker room. However, he also didn’t give a one sentence answer on the Paul situation and try to quickly move on to another topic. He thoroughly addressed the situation and had nothing but positive things to say about his old back court teammate.
Hopefully this is something the media can now let go of as the Rockets have bigger things to focus on.