NBA Hall of Famer Calls Out James Harden After Trade Request: ‘Makes Zero Sense’

James Harden

Getty James Harden

While many are waiting to see how the James Harden situation will be resolved with the Philadelphia 76ers, NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady questions why Harden would want to leave in the first place.

“I don’t understand for the life of me what James Harden is doing,” McGrady said in an interview in GQ published July 25. “Why are you trying to get out?”

He added that Harden has been fortunate to play with high-quality teammates.

“I look at all the teammates he’s played with,” said McGrady, who played for 15 years in the NBA, finishing his career in 2012 with the Atlanta Hawks. “James has probably played with more Hall of Famers than anybody in the league, and he doesn’t have a ring to show for it. I don’t know what he’s looking for.” Among the future Hall of Famers whom Harden has played with are Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Kyrie Irving and Chris Paul.

McGrady pleaded for Harden to get past whatever issues he has with the Sixers.

“Maybe there’s some internal bulls*** that is going on that we don’t know about,” said McGrady, who became a Hall of Famer in 2018. “Because it doesn’t make any sense to me to leave the MVP and the Eastern Conference, where you have a shot to at least play for a championship. It’s got to be something deeper than what you know. Get over it, man.”

Both Harden and McGrady played most of their prime years with the Houston Rockets and both were acquisitions of Daryl Morey when he was general manager in Houston. Morey acquired Harden a second time as vice president of basketball operations for the Sixers.

Tim Hardaway Says James Harden Only Cares About Money

McGrady’s not the only NBA Hall of Famer openly criticizing Harden. Tim Hardaway, who played for five teams from 1989 to 2003, also criticized Harden on the July 19 episode of “The Carton Show,” saying that Harden’s priorities are not on winning.

“James Harden wants to do what James Harden wants to do,” Hardaway said. “He’s looking out for James Harden. He’s not looking out for a team. He wants to get paid as much money as he can. He really doesn’t care about championships.”

Hardaway added that Harden’s diminished skills will essentially make him stuck with the Sixers.

“I think he’s declining right now,” Hardaway said. “I think his game is declining, and I think other teams are like, ‘Well, we don’t need him.’ I think he put himself in a corner, and it’s his fault. Now he’s going to have to live with it. He’s going to have to play for the 76ers until they get a deal done that’s right for them. Until then, I think it’s going to be the same way as Ben Simmons and that whole situation.”

In 2022-23, Harden, who will turn 34 in August, had his lowest scoring average (21 points per game) since 2011-12, his third year in the league. The next season would begin a run of 10 straight All-Star nods that came to an this past season.

James Harden Says ‘It’s Time to Get Uncomfortable’

With Harden and the Sixers still at odds for the foreseeable future, he posted a cryptic Instagram Story on July 20, saying, “Been comfortable for so long. It’s time to get uncomfortable.”

It was unclear whether Harden was referring to his predicament with the Sixers. Both sides are in a situation with no easy resolution, and Harden is signaling that he’s ready to see this battle through.