Officials say that James Harden’s antics, both on and off the court, have been toxic for the Rockets organization.
When he signed with the Rocket’s before the 2012-2013 season, Harden became Houston’s first hope in years at clinching the conference title. In 2018 Harden led the league in scoring and was named the NBA Most Valuable Player. Additionally, Harden has earned ALL-NBA team honors seven times, including six first-team selections.
Despite his contributions to the team, Harden has proved difficult both on and off the court. His “antics,” include refusing to participate in the Rockets’ offense when the ball isn’t in his hands and showing up late for practice. Additionally, Harden has gotten several excused absences after flying to Las Vegas to party.
“If they have multiple days off, everybody knows: James is going to fly somewhere else and party,” says a member of last season’s coaching staff. “But he’s going to come back and have a 50-point triple-double, so they’re OK with it,” he continues.
However, Harden’s antics now have members of the franchise questioning if he’s taking things too far. After blowing off the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, partying maskless during the pandemic, and then bragging about it on Instagram, Harden may be becoming more than the organization is willing to handle.
As if that weren’t enough, Harden recently announced that he no longer wants to play for the Rockets. He provided a list of organizations he prefers to join. The list originally only included the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. However, after a few days without offers, Harden has recently added the Miami Heat, and Milwaukee Bucks to his list.
An Ex-Assistant Coach Says James Harden Isn’t To Blame
An ex-Houston assistant coach says that the organization is to blame for Harden’s behavior, not Harden.
“You can’t get mad at your kid if you let him eat candy every night and then suddenly one night you don’t and they throw a tantrum,” he says. “You’re the one who let them eat candy every night,” he continues. “The Rockets turned the organization over to James, and now they have to live with the fallout.”
Will The Rockets Trade Harden?
Despite pushes from Harden, the Rockets have made it clear that they will not be trading the eight-time league MVP until a reasonable offer is made. A former Rockets staff member says that if Harden doesn’t see offers soon, he will “act up.” He says, “Yeah, he’s going to act up. He’s never heard ‘no’ before.”