Harden On Rockets Exit: “I Wasn’t Disrespectful To Anyone”

Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins described James Harden‘s comments and behavior during his final days in Houston as “disrespectful.” However, speaking today to reporters for the first time since being traded to the Nets, Harden disagreed with that assessment.

“I wasn’t disrespectful to anyone,” Harden said on Friday, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “Those guys, they just got there, to Houston. I’ve been there a very long time. I’ve been through all the ups and downs with that organization. And I wasn’t disrespectful to anyone.

“I just made a comment that the team as a whole wasn’t good enough to compete for a title. The stage of my career, where I am now, that’s what I would love. So, I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to anybody, especially the organization. I’m excited to be here in Brooklyn, excited for a new start.”

Harden did express some regrets about the way his tenure in Houston ended, noting that there were “some things I feel like were out of my character,” but didn’t identify any specific comments or actions that he regretted, Feigen notes.

Harden’s desire to be traded by the Rockets was reported all the way back in November and dominated headlines for nearly two months, but NBA rules prevented him from publicly discussing his trade request until now — doing so would have resulted in a fine. Asked about it today, the former MVP explained that he became motivated to move on following the Rockets’ playoff loss to the Lakers over the summer.

“After the bubble, after that loss, I wanted to re-evaluate my career, the team, where the organization was going,” Harden said, according to Feigen. “You look from top to bottom, the general manager (Daryl Morey) leaving, (head coach) Mike D’Antoni leaving, to reevaluating our personnel and seeing if we had enough to compete with the best teams in this league, as time went on, as free agency and things like that started to go on, I felt like we didn’t have a chance.”

Having decided that he wanted out of Houston, Harden confirmed today that the Nets were atop his wish list, though he said that list featured a handful of other teams as well. The 31-year-old praised the Rockets for working with him to find an appropriate deal and making sure he ended up in a favorable landing spot.

“They worked with me, as bad as it might’ve looked from the outside, and they made sure I ended up here, so much credit to them and (I’m) very, very appreciative,” Harden said, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes.

Harden issued a farewell to Rockets fans with a post on Instagram earlier today, writing that the organization and the city of Houston “has given me everything I could ask for and more.”

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28 thoughts on “Harden On Rockets Exit: “I Wasn’t Disrespectful To Anyone”

  1. CamFrost

    Been a big Harden supporter for years. But partying while his teammates were in camp and then playing half-assed for 3-4 games and being out of shape is disrespectful to his teammates. Yes, these guys are new to the team, but they are vets too. They know what went on. Call a spade a spade.

  2. mnsportsfan

    I don’t think Harden can claim that. If Cousins took his comments and actions as being disrespectful, then that’s how he took it. He’s not wrong for feeling that way.

    • Marty McRae

      Real psychopath behavior tbh, how dare he tell others how to think. Actions and words have consequences for everyone, it’s a shame think Harden doesn’t think they do for him.

    • andremets

      Cousins hasn’t done a damn thing and was just as crazy in Sacramento. He should just be happy he’s healthy/playing. When he wins an mvp, then he can talk about respect.

  3. Tatsumaki

    This guys a cancer. Heck of a talent but to say you weren’t disrespectful to your squad confirms your also a liar. Really hoping he never wins a chip and becomes one of the great players like Barkley and Malone.

    Have a feeling however this team is constructed to build lebrons legacy once he beats them. Seems too perfect to amass this talent in the East knowing there’s no competition in east. Already seeing people like kendrick Perkins Chirp that lebron will hands down be the goat if this happens lol

    • Marty McRae

      I like the part where Curry ended Perkins career and then Perkins became a media personality strictly to destroy Steph Curry.

      If Steph ends up with more rings than Bron, then Curry will be hands down the goat – never forget that Lebron never changed the way the game is played, and Steph did.

      • raz427

        I mean you’re not wrong, Steph is the GOAT of shooting. But to be an all time top 3 GOAT, you need finals MVP’s. For the love of god, Iggy has a finals MVP over Steph.

        I have LeBron at 2. He changed the game is played in terms of teams are looking at superior athleticism and high basketball IQ. I’m not a LeBron fan by ANY means, but his game and impact on the league isn’t deniable. A top 2 all time great career from top to bottom probably him and Cap/KAJ for me.

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Bron never ??????
        What game do you watch. Curry himself would tell you. Not only that there’s never been anyone like Bron. He’d tell you Bron is his hero lol.
        West didn’t have 3PT line. Pistol Pete didn’t have a 3PT line. Barry didn’t have a 3PT line. Curry didn’t change ungatz. He was made cause of the new rules against defenses. If Reggie played today he’d be as good if not better shooter. Nobody ran you off picks and shot like Reggie NOBODY. Come back to earth Marty. Don’t go Kyrie on us.

  4. Telling all the teammates you just left behind that they don’t have a chance to compete is the very definition of disrespectful. Even if you’re right, there’s no reason to make that your first public statement.

    • hiflew

      Way to step out on a limb there. So they will either get along or they won’t.

    • andremets

      Not at all because they will never play together. It’s possible Kyrie has played his last game already in NY. He’s the new Marbury. He is totally a bad fit for a market like NY. He needs to be exiled to a dead market like Cleveland, al la JR Smith to be productive but I think he’s done.

  5. Simmons>Russ

    I think he means he didn’t mean to be disrespectful towards anyone or the organisation. He said from his perspective he didn’t feel the teams was good enough to win a championship or near that level and that was the key reason he wanted to leave. That and the offseason moves in which Daryl and Mike leaving.

    With him having been on that team for a long time, 100% that team was not going to be good enough. They downgraded the from office, the lost good players and what they were left with wasn’t going to be good enough.
    Now they way in which he said it was wrong and the way in which he acted (not showing up, being overweight, etc) that was more or less to force his way out. But in doing these things it is disrespectful to the current players and fans.
    I’d say the multiple good years out ways the last couple months and it’s now a win-win situation for James and the Rockets. James gets a fresh start where he wants to be and on a team capable of big things. The Rockets get a fresh start without James but got loads of picks and a good return and thy locker room and coaching team will be happier.

    Just going to be good to put this behind us and move on already

  6. Marty McRae

    Psst, someone tell him that he is not actually allowed to tell other people how they are supposed to interpret his words and actions – that’s what actual sociopaths do. He has no autonomy over others but thinks he does.

  7. Reflect

    The biggest problem I have with Hardens handling of this is that it’s his own fault the Rockets don’t have a ring. He demanded the roster changes that happened every year. Dwight, CP3 that was all his dumb idea in the first place.

    • andremets

      You act like CP3 was a bad idea. They were one injury away from winning it all! CP3 still has a ton of value too years later.

  8. El Don

    Harden ain’t dissing anyone, ask his teammates Gordon & PJ, both said he didn’t, facts annoy people with agendas!

    • KnickerbockerAl

      Gordon and PJ are on their way out. Woods, Cousins, Wall are the team now. He disrespected them. He disrespected the Team. He disrespected Houston. And he disrespected himself. His fat A s. Is the only picture you need to see to see disrespect lol. how can anyone defend this. He’s been disrespecting since he wanted out. He could of just asked out. And gave the Nets as his choice. We don’t need a prolonged scenario. A tv miniseries. Or a diva tantrum. Why the drama and the extra 40 LBs.

      • osaegthong

        lol da problem for da rockets is that gordon can never manage to stay healthy and tucker is old and doesnt do much other than shooting threes and providing defense. could trade pj for juancho or culver. prob like a young 4 who they could develop alongside wall, wood, and house.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      So he quits on his teammates, then tells the whole world they aren’t good enough to win a title, and that’s not disrespectful? If he feels that way privately fine. Those are professional athletes though. That’s insulting.

      Maybe if Harden had showed up and spent more time draining buckets and less time Dunkin Donuts, they’d have been better?

  9. Jimmy Fitzsimmons

    The elbow Harden took from Ron Artest wasn’t disrespectful either.

  10. Dorothy_Mantooth

    Harden spent too much time at Hardee’s this offseason. If he doesn’t get into shape quickly or if Kyrie can’t get mentally healthy then this team is going nowhere. They traded away most of their depth and have mortgaged their future for the next 5+ seasons.

    Personally, I like Boston in the East provided that Kemba is healthy. I’m guessing that?Boston will use its $28M PTE from the Hayward deal to acquire Andre Drummond before the trade deadline and that would make them a complete team even though their core is still quite young.

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