The 2018 NBA MVP went public with his desire to leave Houston – a trade demand that was speculated during the off-season, well before reports confirmed what was going on behind the scenes. And now, it appears both sides have reached the point of no return following the Rockets’ 117-100 loss to the champion Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night.
Perhaps, the blowout loss was a striking reaffirmation of The Beard; of just how far behind the Rockets are to competing at the same level as the returning champs.
John Wall Calls Out James Harden: ‘You Want To Jump Off The Cliff Off Of Nine Games?’
Unlike Harden, John Wall sees things differently in Houston. Wall opened up about his relationship with James.
“I think it’s been a little rocky, can’t lie about that,” Wall said, according to the New York Post. “I don’t think it’s been the best it could be, to be honest. That’s all I really could say.”
However, not every player shares the same feelings as Harden.
“At the end of the day, a lot of guys here want to compete at a high level,” Wall said, per ESPN. “I told the guys before; when the 1-through-15 guys are all on the same page and they commit; they know their role, they know what they want to do, they know what they want to get out of this: that’s to win. You all will be fine but when you have certain guys in the mix that don’t want to buy-in all as one, it’s going to be hard to do anything special; anything good as a basketball team.”
Wall elaborated on his point by alluding to how destructive a player’s selfishness can be on a team and adding that it’s still too early in the season for the Rockets to give up hope.
“I’ve been on those teams,” Wall added, per ESPN. “I’ve been on a team where in my first five years it was all about me, me, me, me; not about the team. That hurts, it hurts and it brings everybody down but if we can all get on the same page, we can be something good here. We can’t dwell down on it because it’s only been nine games, now. C’mon, man.
“You want to jump off the cliff off of nine games? There’s still a lot of basketball to be played.”
James Harden On 2021 Houston Rockets: ‘This Situation Is Crazy, It’s Something That Can’t Be Fixed’
Harden, who’s spent the past eight seasons in Houston, has led the Rockets to two Western Conference finals appearances, including a conference-leading 65-win season in 2018, says he doesn’t believe the Rockets will be contenders in 2021.
“I love this city. I literally have done everything I can,” Harden said, per Bleacher Report, Tuesday night after the loss. “I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
Harden then stormed off and didn’t answer any further questions. Although my guess is he wouldn’t have been able to answer the biggest question on everyone’s mind; what happens next?
ESPN Sources: ‘Houston’s Front Office Is Determined To Remain Patient’
According to ESPN, sources say, “Houston’s front office is determined to remain patient until its asking price for the 2018 NBA MVP is met.”
Houston is in no rush to deal Harden, at the moment, however, the longer the Rockets wait, the more we’ll see James’ trade value diminish. But, at this point, when you consider how early in the season it is, there is a good chance at least two teams will anxiously try to outbid the other and in that case, maybe, the Rockets get reasonable compensation.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be very difficult for Houston to land equal value for Harden, given the risk teams are unwilling to take for a guy of his reputation. The player who inked a four-year, $171 million contract extension just to ask for his walking papers the following year.