James Harden crystallized his feelings about the Rockets after a 117-100 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night, essentially telling reporters he was no longer interested in being in the franchise.
It had been reported that Harden was unhappy and that he might try to force a trade this year, but similar NBA disputes historically unfolded until their conclusion, mostly out of public view, with occasional leaks. agents serving as primary advanceers. When Anthony Davis left New Orleans in 2019, for example, there was a request to leave, and then all an awkward silence. Davis never sat down in front of the cameras and criticized his organization in blunt terms.
“(We) are just not good enough,” Harden said. “I love this city. I literally did everything I could. I mean, this situation is crazy. This is something that I don’t think can be fixed.
As one can imagine, Harden’s teammates didn’t seem to appreciate his comments, which came one night when he went 5 for 16 on the pitch and 1 for 6 deep. John Wall’s off-season arrival was not subtle in his response.
“It’s only been nine games,” Wall said. “Come on man, do you want to jump off a cliff after nine games? There’s still a lot of basketball to play.”
After his time in Washington ended with more than a year of absence from basketball due to injury, Wall had hoped he could return to form in a Rockets team that had reached the playoffs. eight consecutive years. All hope of an optimistic campaign is probably gone now.
Many NBA fans were taken aback by Harden’s press conference. Some were upset, while others were more perplexed.
James Harden said this culture is horrible, who is responsible for it ???? Me? Ah well never the least
– Trille Withers (@TylerIAm) January 13, 2021
Harden hasn’t been his typical superstar this year, and his own struggles deserve to be blamed for Houston’s 3-6 record. He’s averaging 17.4 points per game across five contests this month. In his worst month of last year, he averaged 28.2 points per game.
His conditioning has also been a source of criticism – he seems less agile than in previous seasons – and his apparent weight gain has been used by some to disparage his work ethic.
Earlier Tuesday night, the NBA TV pre-game team hinted at his altered appearance.
The 76ers and Nets have been discussed as potential business destinations for Harden, but no deal has been reported to happen at this point.