Sport

James Harden on Rockets exit: ‘I wasn’t disrespectful to anyone’

James Harden asked the Rockets to trade him to the Nets.

The Rockets traded him to the Nets.

Between, Harden flaunted the NBA’s coronavirus protocols to party, arrived late to training camp, got into it with teammates during practice and publicly declared the Rockets to be broken beyond repair.

Harden in his introductory press conference with Brooklyn:

I wasn’t disrespectful to anyone. Those guys, they just got there. I’ve been there for a very long time. I’ve been through all the ups and downs with that organization. And I wasn’t disrespectful towards anyone. I just made a comment that the team, as a whole, wasn’t good enough to compete for a title. And at the stage of my career where I am now, that’s what I would love. So, I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to anybody – especially not to the organization.

I regret, because I’m never been the guy to – I don’t need the attention, especially the the negative energy, the negative attention. I’ve never been that guy. There were some things out of my character. But the ultimate goal was to get to somewhere I could compete, and here I am with Brooklyn. I have nothing but love and respect for that organization, that city and everything that they’ve done for me and my family. Much respect.

Harden was disrespectful. Objectively.

He disrespected his Houston teammates by arriving late to training camp while they were working to improve and jell. He disrespected them by his practice tantrums. He disrespected them by saying the Rockets weren’t good enough and that he had already done all he could.

I do believe Harden’s primary intent was forcing a trade, not disrespecting others in Houston. But he did disrespect others in Houston. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins clearly felt disrespected.

Harden should own how he acted. For what it’s worth, he expressed regret later in his answer.

But everyone else should recognize the situation. Trade requests get messy. Harden’s plan worked. The Rockets sent him to his preferred destination.

So, I doubt he regrets it too much.