“We’re just not good enough… I love this city. I literally did everything I could, ”said Harden. “I mean, this situation is crazy. This is something that I don’t think can be fixed. ”
Harden had been silent for months of speculation he was unhappy in Houston. Numerous reports have indicated that he is considering being shipped to Brooklyn to play with former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant, who left and became NBA champion with Golden State. Despite all of his accomplishments, Harden is still on the hunt for an NBA title.
He has been repeatedly asked to respond to trade rumors since the start of the season, but he has deflected the questions and refused to reveal any frustration.
That all changed after a 117-100 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night. The Lakers led by 30 points in the third quarter after leading by 27 in a 120-102 Sunday.
Harden did not elaborate or respond to additional questions after his initial comments.
Harden’s words will surely be noticed by NBA officials, but it doesn’t appear that what he said after the game would merit commercial demand and subject him to a fine. The league has a long-standing rule that players cannot publicly express a desire to be traded and has imposed fines of $ 50,000 in recent years on players like Anthony Davis and Dewayne Dedmon for breaking this. Politics.
Harden was fined $ 50,000 earlier this season for harmful league conduct related to his failure to follow health and safety protocols put in place by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association for having went through a season during a coronavirus pandemic.
Harden has won each of the last three titles with notable margins – 2.3 points over Davis in 2017-18, 8.1 points over Paul George in 2018-19 and 3.8 points over Bradley Beal last season. His average of 24.8 points so far this season has ranked 18th in the NBA, still placing him among the leaders, but obviously well outside his usual pace.
He’s averaged at least 25 points per game in each of his eight full seasons with the Rockets.
The Rockets traded Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a future pre-season first-round pick in what was seen as an attempt to pacify Harden.
So far, the pairing of the two ball-dominant guards has not gone well. The Rockets are 3-6 and looked completely outclassed in their last two games against the defending champions.
Wall was asked how he and Harden have worked together on the pitch so far after Tuesday’s game.
“It’s a little rocky,” Wall said. “I don’t think that’s the best it can be, that’s all I could say. ”