It’s been roughly a month since the Houston Rockets traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, in a deal that brought a haul of draft picks and former NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo to Houston. The Rockets have gone 8-8 since the trade, in part due to injuries, while Harden’s Nets have gone 8-6 since acquiring him.
The Rockets entered the season with hopes of keeping Harden, with reports that he preferred playing with John Wall over Russell Westbrook, which were later proven to be false, not to mention the fact that he played with newcomer Christian Wood during his summer workouts in Los Angeles. On Friday Harden joined ESPN’s Rachel Nichols to discuss his adjustment to Brooklyn, their chances of winning a title, and much more.
But a specific part of the interview caught my attention, as Nichols as him how he felt about the way things ended in Houston, drawing a rather interesting response.
Why it’s time for James Harden to take ownership of his messy Houston Rockets exit
“I don’t like it at all, because that’s not who I am. The drama, the extra whatever you wanna call it. The negativity.
For me, I don’t really like negative energy. It’s draining. So I don’t like how it necessarily happened. I feel like it could have happened alot smoother, alot easier.
But it is what it is.”
James Harden sits down & opens up about his new role in Brooklyn, what he didn't like about his departure from Houston, and the Nets' championship chances: "We're more than confident that it's going to be difficult for a team to beat us four times in a best-of-seven series." pic.twitter.com/rZKkwFs1jg
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 12, 2021
Where do we even start here? How about with the fact that it wasn’t smooth because of how he conducted himself leading up to his departure.
If you recall, it was Harden who opted to go to party with trap artist Lil’ Baby while his team was in training camp and trying to adjust to a new coaching philosophy and a new cast of players.
It was Harden who promised to show up for a workout after training camp started and didn’t honor his word, leaving new Rockets coach Stephen Silas left to explain his whereabouts. It was Harden who chose to attend an event that he described as a “seated dinner” despite it being against NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s coronavirus protocol.
It was also Harden who was clearly lagging on the offensive end, as he averaged just 7.9 free throws per game, which was the lowest mark of his Rockets career and a clear indicator of him not driving to the basket and doing what he’s become the best in league history of doing, which is selling calls and getting to the line.
Harden’s final parting shot to the Rockets was following a double-digit loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, in which he stated that the Rockets just weren’t good enough. The same Rockets that went on a six-game winning streak that started roughly a week after they traded him.
Harden’s behavior even caught Silas and Rockets general manager Rafael Stone off guard, as he stated that he didn’t expect the drama that ensued, which was caused by…..you guessed it, Harden. So Harden can overlook the role he played in the drama, but he said himself in the interview that the Houston Rockets gave him what he wanted by sending him to his preferred destination, when they didn’t have to, as he didn’t have a no-trade clause or the event to block any move they could have otherwise made.
Maybe what Harden meant to say is that he didn’t like how he looked in the end, but the reality is that he has himself to blame for the way things ended in Houston.