On Wednesday, Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins didn’t hold back his criticisms of his teammate James Harden who essentially forced a trade away from the team midseason.
Reporters questioned Cousins about Harden’s comments from Tuesday night. A dejected Harden admitted he didn’t think the Rockets could win, basically signaling that it was time for a change. A change for both Houston and Harden himself.
During Wednesday’s press interview, Cousins spoke freely of Harden’s disrespect of the Rockets. Cousins said he signed with Houston to play with John Wall, not Harden. Both players played their college ball at Kentucky under head coach John Calipari, so the statement doesn’t come as a surprise. Yet, Cousins had much more to say.
“The disrespect started way before any interview,” Cousins explained. “(Harden’s) approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, the antics off the court. The disrespect started way before. This isn’t something that all of a sudden happened last night. But with that being said, this is the nasty part of the business. So it is what it is.”
James Harden Forces His Way Out of Houston
Cousins referenced some of the issues surrounding James Harden dating back to the off-season. Harden did not show up to training camp on time, and when he did, he was out of shape.
In addition, he was seen partying in public while maskless in both Atlanta and Las Vegas, instead of joining his team. Considering the Rockets had numerous new players this season, it was vital for Harden to get in early with his teammates. However, he missed all preseason practices and most preseason games, adding to the discontent between the player and franchise.
Harden led Houston to the playoffs every year since joining the team – eight seasons in a row. The Rockets have been title contenders most of those seasons as well, but the wheels have fallen off this season so far. Houston has one of the worst records in the league early on. Their record is 3-6 through the first nine games, making them the second-worst team in the Western Conference.
“We’re just not good enough … I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can,” Harden said in his postgame interview. “I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
Following Harden’s comments, the team told the shooting guard not to come to practice Wednesday morning. By this afternoon, reports circulated that Houston had finalized a multi-team trade to send Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. Harden’s relationship with the franchise after eight seasons deteriorated to the point of no return. Add Harden and his impressive tenure in Houston to the long list of what-ifs in NBA history.