The Houston Rockets traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this year in a multi-team deal involving a bevy of draft picks and players.
Early returns on the transaction are mixed.
After showing up to his first game in a dress, Harden has helped transform Brooklyn into the NBA’s scariest teams offensively and least intimidating units defensively. He’s also already gotten into arguments with some of his teammates, and been relegated to supporting duty as it pertains to scoring.
Houston, meanwhile, finds itself in that dreaded middling zone where they’re only 2.5 games back of a playoff slot, but aren’t a threat to contend in any way and may be better served just getting started on the rebuild. Victor Oladipo is getting traded to one of three teams sometime soon, and John Wall has been linked to one very major potential trade.
Although tensions have cooled over the past couple of months, the process of trading Harden was a brutal one. It involved a lot of leaks to the media, players accusing Harden of partying too much, private investigators being hired and ultimately the remaining Rockets not thinking too highly of their recently departed teammate.
This week, Harden addressed how dramatic his departure from Houston truly was, and how he felt about the whole thing.
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
“I don’t like it all because that’s not who I am,” he told Rachel Nichols of ESPN. “The drama, the extra… whatever you want to call it. The negativity; for me I don’t like negative energy. It’s draining. So I don’t like necessarily what happened. I feel like it could have happened a lot smoother, a lot easier, but it is what it is.”
When pressed on whether there is anything he’d have done differently, Harden insists that there isn’t.
The hits keep coming. https://t.co/tAgVSV1zRh
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 11, 2021
“No, I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, I wasn’t trying to be selfish,” he replied.
“I believe the front office knew where I stood, and what I wanted, I apologize for how it went down, but I guess I had to do what I had to do to go where I wanted to go. And credit to Houston, they didn’t have to trade me to Brooklyn, they could’ve traded me anywhere, but those are some stand-up guys over there. It ended up the right way, I just didn’t like how that month or two played out.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
Harden’s exit from Houston paved the way for the NBA’s newest super team to come together. But as Damian Lillard pointed out this week, not everyone respects that path to a championship.
Will Harden’s decision to join the Nets ultimately earn him his first ever career title? Time will tell.