Nine-time NBA All-Star James Harden may have started the 2020-21 season as a member of the Houston Rockets, but the writing was on the wall that his departure was looming. After parting ways with head coach Mike D’Antoni and trading superstar Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall it was clear that Harden was going to be the next domino to fall.
Houston didn’t want to move Harden, but Harden wanted out, and when the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player made his disdain with the organization public they had no choice but to oblige him.
“We’re just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise, just everything, and it was clear these last few games,” Harden said after a blowout loss to the Lakers in January. I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
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NFL Agent Says James Harden ‘Nuked’ Rockets
That post-game press conference is what ultimately landed Harden with the Brooklyn Nets. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going through something similar with his front office as many believe this is his final season with the Packers. One anonymous NFL agent disagrees with player empowerment including Harden’s exit from Houston as he accused ‘The Beard’ of ‘nuking’ the Rockets organization.
“Why is that a necessity? Look at the NBA,” the agent said to Ben Standig of The Athletic. “James Harden was basically given GM powers by the Rockets, and he nuked the organization.”
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Harden Still Has Love for Houston
Harden ultimately did what was best for his career when he left Houston. He had won the NBA Most Valuable Player award in 2018, multiple scoring titles, had been voted an All-Star, All-NBA, and secured a bevy of other accolades during his nine seasons in Houston. The only thing missing from his career resume was finally capturing that elusive first NBA title.
Coming into last season, Houston had parted ways with D’Antoni who was head coach since 2016 and hired Stephen Silas who was a rookie head coach at the time. They had also parted ways with much of the roster that had made them title contenders over the years.
It was clear Houston was in a rebuild mode and not looking to compete for a championship in the near future. Despite an ugly exit from the Rockets, Harden still has a love for the city who helped transform him into the player that he is today.
“Houston will always hold a special place in my heart. I spent the last nine years there. On the court, it was what it was. I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t bring a championship there because that’s what I put the jersey on for every single game,” Harden said to Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated.
“But the community work really lets me see the impact I can have on the city. We’ve been through some tough times with [Hurricane Harvey] and all types of things. And just being able to come back now and be there for people and support them, I’m going to do that as long as I can.”
Harden will be looking to justify his move from Houston by securing his first championship with the Nets in 2022.