If it wasn’t common knowledge already (which it was), NBA All-Star James Harden wants away from the Houston Rockets.
The point-scoring phenomenon has lambasted his Rockets team as being “just not good enough” after they were comfortably beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers.
It was a second defeat in three days for Houston against the NBA Champions; a 117-110 defeat coming on the back of a 120-102 loss on Monday.
“Something I don’t think can be fixed”
Speaking in a virtual news conference after the game, a disgruntled Harden commented.
“I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
“We’re not even close, honestly, to that team , obviously the defending champions, and all the other elite teams out there. I mean you can tell the difference in the last two games.”
“We’re just not good enough, chemistry, talentwise, just everything. And it was clear these last two games.”
Harden fielded just two questions before he abruptly left the conference.
No Sympathy from Team Mate Wall
Harden’s complaints received no sympathy from Rockets teammate John Wall. Wall was the player who arrived in Houston as part of the Russell Westbrook trade just before the start of training camp.
“He’s talking his own opinion,” stated Wall in his interview.
“I can’t know what he thinks about the team or what he feels like we are. I know how much hard work these guys put in to try and get better every day. I know how much work I put in to get back and compete at a high level.”
Who is to blame?
Wall then suggested that Harden should look a little closer to home for the reasons why the Rockets are 3-6 on the season, the second worst record in the Western Conference this season.
“There’s a lot of guys here that want to compete at a high level. Like I told everybody tonight and told the guys before, when one through 15 guys are all on the same page and they commit and they know their role and they know what they want to get of this, and that’s to win, it’ll all be fine.”
“But when you have certain guys in the mix that don’t want to buy in all as one, it’s going to be hard to do anything special or anything good as a basketball team.”
Given that in his last four games, Harden has scored 20 points or fewer in each, a stretch which is the longest since his final season with Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011-12, Wall may well have a point.
Trade Deals Scuppered by Houston Asking Price?
Harden’s desire to move on has been widely known since the offseason. He held discussions with the team ownership ahead of the season stating his desire to move on, which owner Tilman Fertitta accepted.
However, Fertitta wants a hefty price for the 2018 NBA MVP, looking to land a key young player for the Rockets franchise plus a package of first round picks, or a number of talented players on rookie contracts.
So far, the Rockets are believed to have been in discussions with a number of teams over a trade, and it is believed that they have sought out Harden’s feelings on those options. As yet, nothing concrete has materialised for the player.
Lack of Progress the issue?
It may well be this lack of progress on the trade front that is frustrating Harden as much as his team’s lack of form at present.
As much as Harden may complain that the team around him is not good enough, after holding out in training camp earlier this season, Harden’s form has been such that he has been a key part of the problem why the Rockets have struggled.
A move to a new franchise may invigorate his career and see him back to his best, but the questions surrounding his character will remain. That may well be one of the things putting off teams that would otherwise be interested in a trade for one of the most talented players in the NBA.