James harden used his last interview in Houston to say his team weren’t good enough.
He has a whole new message now that he’s in Brooklyn.
Harden sees a roster that includes Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, a coaching staff that includes a coach under whom he became the NBA’s top scorer and an opportunity to win the title he still lacks.
“You just add it all together, and it’s like, it’s a legitimate chance here,” Harden said.
“It was obvious to me.”
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The Nets acquired Harden from the Rockets on Thursday in a successful deal that reunited him with his Oklahoma City teammate Durant. He could play for them on Saturday if all players in the deal, which also included Cleveland, changed their physique on time.
The trade was completed just two days after Harden’s last game with the Rockets, a resounding loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. After the game, Harden said: “We are just not good enough … I love this city. I literally did everything I could. “
Harden said he did not disrespect his former teammates.
“I’ve been there for a very long time. I have been through all the ups and downs with this organization and have not been disrespectful to anyone, ”he said. I just said that the team as a whole is not good enough to compete for a title and this stage of my career where I am now is what I would like.
Harden praised the Rockets for working with him to get him to his favorite destination and said he regretted his comments which he said were not of character for him.
“But the ultimate goal was to get to a place where I can compete and here I am in Brooklyn,” he added.
Harden said that in assessing the Rockets after their loss to the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs, he determined they weren’t good enough to beat the top teams in the NBA. General manager Daryl Morey and coach Mike D’Antoni weren’t going to return and Harden didn’t believe the list left behind.
D’Antoni ended up joining Steve Nash’s staff in Brooklyn and will help shape an offense that now includes three of the NBA’s top scorers.
Harden, like Durant and Irving, will have to give up some of the offensive opportunities he previously had.
“There are still a lot of plans to be made, there are still a lot of opportunities to make games, but it will not be in the same format as before where they were largely the No.1 focal point”, Nash said.
“It’s going to be a lot more divided between the three of them and they also have to improve their other teammates.”
Harden insists he can do it, saying his ability to play is underestimated. The three-time goalie has averaged around 20 shooting attempts in Houston, but also led the league in assists in 2016-17 and has averaged 10.4 in eight games this season.
“As long as I improve my teammates, whatever the points are,” said Harden. “I think everyone knows I can score the ball at a high level and that’s where the sacrifice comes in.
Harden added that salary and status were more important earlier in his career, but said winning is now high on his list. He said he would do whatever it takes to make it in Brooklyn.
It could take, at least some nights, to go from being a main man to option # 3. That looks okay with Harden – as long as the Nets win.
“I can’t predict how it’s going to turn out,” Harden said. “Kyrie could score 10 possessions in a row. KD can score 10 possessions in a row. Like, they’re more than capable of that and I’m okay with that because we’re gonna win and it’s gonna be good. “