On Thursday night, former NBA champion turned TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal stated that if the Brooklyn Nets with James Harden don’t win a championship this year, “it’s a bust.”
The crew of NBA on TNT discussed Harden joining forces with fellow All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. After months of speculation, the Houston Rockets traded their longtime team leader in Harden to the Nets. The multi-team trade stunned the league on Wednesday afternoon.
The new Big 3 of Durant, Harden and Irving have instant championship expectations. In fact, many fans and sports pundits, including O’Neal, think the super team is a failure without a title this season. The Big Aristotle also directed some harsh criticisms at Harden during the segment.
“When you say you gave (Houston) your all, that ain’t true,” O’Neal said before explaining his thoughts.
O’Neal referenced the numerous players that Houston signed to build around Harden. Multiple role players and shooters were brought in to fill out the roster. In addition, multiple All-Star caliber players were signed to pair with Harden. They included Dwight Howard in his prime, Chris Paul, and Harden’s former teammate on the OKC Thunder, Russell Westbrook. Yet, none of them worked out. It didn’t help that Harden often didn’t show up in the playoffs when it mattered most.
“Chuck has said this many times. When you’re the man, you’ve got a big responsibility, it’s all on you. So when it comes time to show up, (James Harden) ain’t shown up,” O’Neal said emphatically. “I know a lot of people in Houston are glad he’s gone. He got his little super team. He has to win this year. If he doesn’t win this year it’s a bust.”
James Harden Joins Nets, Charles Barkley Slams Brooklyn
During the same segment on NBA on TNT, Charles Barkley reiterated some of Shaq’s thoughts. Additionally, he slammed both James Harden and Kyrie Irving in particular. According to Chuck, Durant is the only non-selfish player of the Nets’ new Big 3. Barkley says that KD is the only star on the team that isn’t a “me guy.”
“You got one guy, KD, he’s unselfish. The other two guys proved to me they only care about their numbers. And I don’t think they’re going to make the sacrifice. They’re going to get less shots. Are those two guys gonna say ‘you know what, I’m just gonna play hard and play defense and not worry about my individual numbers.’ And to me, that’s a hell nah,” Barkley said of Harden and Irving.
Sir Charles continued with further criticisms of Irving. The former NBA great thinks the Nets are already sick of Irving’s antics, and brought in Harden for cover.
“This is just me thinking. I think (Brooklyn) is sick of Kyrie already,” he explained. “So they said we better make this James Harden trade because we can’t count on Kyrie. That’s just me talking.”
Only time will tell if the three All-Stars can coexist together. But one things for sure. Brooklyn and their successes or failures on the court will be a main storyline all season.