James Harden Reveals True Feelings on Messy Breakup With Houston Rockets

James Harden

Getty James Harden dribbles during the second half against of Brooklyn's game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Barclays Center on February 2.

Now about a month removed from being traded to the Brooklyn Nets from the Houston Rockets, James Harden can step back and look at how things unfolded with a bit more clarity.

In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that aired Friday, Harden delved into his messy breakup with the Rockets, who sent him to Brooklyn in a four-team trade on January 14.

Messy Breakup With Houston Rocket

The dust may have settled, but the way things ended between Harden and Houston still doesn’t sit well with the former.

“I don’t like it at all because that’s not who I am,” Harden told Nichols.

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Harden, who had requested a trade in the offseason, was absent for the beginning of training camp with the Rockets while attending events in Atlanta and Las Vegas. Then, a couple of days before being dealt to the Nets, he had this to say after a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers:

“We’re not even close, honestly, to that team (the Lakers) — obviously the defending champions — and all the other elite teams out there. You can tell the difference in these last two games.

“We’re just not good enough. Obviously chemistry, talent-wise, just… everything. It was clear. They’re a veteran team, a championship team, one of the best teams that we have in this league.

“I love this city. I’ve literally done everything I can. This situation is crazy. It’s something that — I don’t think it can be fixed.”

Harden expressed regret over how the situation unfolded to Nichols.

“The drama, the extra whatever you want to call it, the negativity, for me I don’t really like negative energy, it’s draining,” Harden said. “I don’t like how it necessarily happened, I feel like it could’ve happened a lot smoother, easier, but it is what it is.”

‘Relieving’ to Be With Brooklyn Nets

Where he used “draining” to describe his experience in Houston, Harden said it was “relieving” to land in Brooklyn where he has co-stars in Kevin Durant and Kyring Irving.

Harden is averaging 23.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and a league-leading 11.3 assists in 13 games since joining the Nets.

“The situation that I was with in Houston, consistently and every single night having to get 40 points to give ourself a chance to win, for a long stint of years is draining,” Harden told Nichols, “and so just to be able to have a skillset of guys that you can be the play-maker and you can get guys involved and not necessarily worrying about scoring each possession, it’s a little bit relieving for me.”

The Nets are 8-5 in games that Harden has played in for them.

“Of course, we’re more than confident that it will be difficult for a team to beat us four times in a best-of-7 series so I’m excited about it,” Harden told Nichols. “And it’s only been a month, so all of us are trying to get to one goal and that’s the NBA championship.”

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