With James Harden remaining firm on his request to leave the Houston Rockets, former Rockets forward Eddie Johnson shared his thoughts on Harden.
The Houston Rockets and James Harden find themselves at an impasse, as both sides want different things at this point in time. The franchise realizes their title hopes for the 2020-21 season is non-existent without the former MVP and three-time scoring champion, and Harden has set his sights on getting out of Houston, citing the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat as more desired destinations.
Harden is two years away from being able to control his destiny and choose his desired landing spot, which is what has created such an impasse between Harden and the franchise. The Rockets have held firm on their asking price for The Beard, which has been a young superstar player and future draft capital, and rightfully so, as Harden is a generational talent.
With Harden not getting his way, what’s ensued has been public jabs towards the franchise, as Harden’s camp leaked that he viewed the franchise as the “Knicks of the South”, due to the team’s toxic culture (which he’s responsible for, but that’s a topic for another day).
Former Rockets Eddie Johnson shared his thoughts on the Harden situation on his Sirius XM radio show NBA Today, starting with Harden’s initial holdout.
Eddie Johnson sounds off on James Harden’s request to leave the Rockets
“He’s making all this cake. They offered him another $100 million. When you have not won, and you have struggled and failed, sometimes in the biggest moments, and they’re paying you top-five salary in the league, how can you even justify it?
I don’t get that part of it. It’s like he thinks it’s his money, like it’s mine. You’re supposed to get me this.
Harden has been around long enough and he’s gone through some tough times and criticisms that you would think he would be proactive to stay out of it. That’s the scary part of it.”
Johnson certainly didn’t hold any punches, which should come as no surprise, as he’s one of the more authentic media personalities, and has been quite critical of the Rockets in the past. To that point, he spoke about how the Houston Rockets front office has done a stellar job building around Harden for the 2020-21 campaign, which starts for the Rockets on Wednesday.
“They want this thing to work. They go out and get another guard, in John Wall, and they sign Boogie Cousins. They give some money to Christian Wood. They’re not mailing it in. They still want to make it work for him.”
Johnson provided a glimpse of what it would be like to be one of Harden’s teammates, with the knowledge that he doesn’t want to play with the team anymore.
“I can put myself in that locker room and I can tell you what they’re thinking. They’re like ‘he doesn’t even want to play with us.’
I mean, because what reason does he want to leave? Is it a particular city he wants to get to? Please. Houston is a tremendous city.
He owns the city. So it’s not the city. Why does he want to leave? Oh, he doesn’t want to play with us. He doesn’t believe that we can help him win. That would be my mindset.”
Harden has said little about the situation and joined the team for their last two preseason games, but we haven’t heard that he’s reconsidered his desire to leave, despite the aforementioned moves that Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone made, which have the Rockets looking like a formidable contender, with Harden, of course.
We’ve continued to hear reports about other teams potentially getting involved (depending on who you believe) and that’s surely going to continue until Harden gets traded or unless he states that he wants to remain with the team.
We’ll have to see what happens, but at least for now it appears that Harden will be with the team at the start of the season.