James Harden: I Don’t Think Rockets Situation “Can Be Fixed”

On the heels of a second consecutive blowout loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night, Rockets star James Harden provided a brief, blunt assessment of the team in his postgame press conference.

We’re just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise. And it was clear these last few games,” Harden said, per Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic (Twitter links). “I love this city. I’ve literally done everything I can. This situation is crazy. I don’t think it can be fixed. Thanks.”

Harden left the podium immediately after delivering those comments. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets, it was about as close to an explicit trade request as a player is likely to get during a media session, given that the Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for a fine for any player who publicly asks to be dealt.

We’ve known since the offseason that Harden has wanted to be traded out of Houston, but the team’s asking price has remained high and has yet to be met. If the Rockets are going to make a move, they want to extract as much value as they can out of their superstar, particularly since he’s not in a contract year. As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the club continues to explore potential trade scenarios, as Harden is aware, but no deal is imminent.

Harden’s comments tonight come on the heels of a report earlier this week from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that suggested the Rockets were growing more optimistic about the former MVP being comfortable remaining with the team for the rest of the season, given the promising early-season performances from players like John Wall and Christian Wood.

It’s not clear whether Harden’s statements were a direct response to that report, but they certainly constitute a rebuttal. Houston lost by 18 points to the Lakers on Sunday and by 17 points on Tuesday, dropping its record to 3-6.

Harden made it clear after tonight’s game that he doesn’t feel the Rockets have enough talent to compete with the defending champions, and it sounds like he’s growing impatient waiting for the team to find a deal it likes.

Following Harden’s brief presser, his teammates were left to address the Rockets’ situation, including Tuesday’s loss. John Wall told reporters that it’s a challenge when not everyone wants to “buy in,” and acknowledged that developing chemistry with Harden has been “a little rocky,” per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Harden’s contract doesn’t include any sort of no-trade protection, so the Rockets can trade him anywhere, but he has reportedly provided the club with a list of preferred destinations that includes Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Miami, Milwaukee, Portland, and Boston. Some of those teams are considered more likely than others to pursue a possible deal.

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81 thoughts on “James Harden: I Don’t Think Rockets Situation “Can Be Fixed”

    • ZacharyH

      *this. I’m just wanna see what trade packages are out there.
      it looks like most of Houston’s traded 1st rounders are highly protected. Is this right?

      • Sillivan

        Rockets traded away 2 top 4 protected Firsts and 2 unprotected swaps
        Rockets traded in one top 14 protected and one top 16 protected First

        Now they want massive Firsts
        Fans want 7 Firsts from 4 team trade

        • Sillivan

          Rockets have 4 Achilles injuries
          Wall stats tonight
          30 minutes
          10 points
          5 assists
          0 rebounds

      • Rww59

        Its funny because it doesn’t make sense financially for him.He wants to leave a no tax state and go to the highest tax state in the country

        • Gary

          Bro he doesn’t give a whip about money. He’s making 40 million that would be taking home 20 million not counting for any tax-advantaged Investments or contributions he makes.

          The dude spent a hundred thousand at a strip club, you think he cares about a 50% tax rate? He thinks he’s probably going to play six more years, X 4, that’s a quarter of a billion dollars.

          • BG99

            He can spend that kind of money at a strip club because he makes so much. Use your head.

            And if money really didn’t matter to him, he would greatly reduce his salary to allow the team to sign another impact player.

  1. Jason Lancaster

    I don’t care for the way Harden is conducting himself, but it’s not like he didn’t privately ask to be traded several months ago. As much as fans want to blame him for all the drama, Houston’s management has screwed this up about as badly as anyone could have.

    The smart move would have been to make a deal this past free agency period, but here we are.

    Now, Houston will be lucky to get more than 2 draft picks and a good young player.

    • buttholesurfer69

      I’ve been a consistent Harden defender on this board but:

      A) between the new haircut and the weight gain he looks like he aged 5 years in a 30 day offseason

      B) He’s just not controlling games the way he did the past few seasons. He looks pedestrian a lot of the time.

      So I think while sure Houston MAYBE could have pulled the trigger (we don’t know what was offered tho), Harden is making this more difficult than it needs to be by looking half washed up.

      • Jason Lancaster

        I don’t disagree. Harden isn’t being smart here at all – he should be playing out of his mind right now, and terrorizing his teammates/coaches until he gets what he wants a la Jimmy Butler.

        At this point, he’s going to end up sitting out the season.

  2. windycitykid89

    Why don’t they just do what they did with Melo? If he really wants out, tell him to stay away until they find a deal to get him out. He has clearly given up on this team, and they might as well just go out there with the players who want to be there.

    • "Stons" Fan

      Hard to pay a guy 40 million dollars to play b ball at lifetime fitness.

      • windycitykid89

        Very valid point, but at this point his head and heart clearly isn’t there anymore in Houston. Why disrupt the locker room even more than he already has? Everyone knows he doesn’t want to be there. It would be funny if he gets moved to a non contending team.

        • Sillivan

          Wall and Cousins are done
          Future draft picks are gone
          Gordon and Nwaba are injury prone
          Wood is stats player with no defense
          Tucker is old

          Rockets are dead organization after trading away Harden

  3. Simmons>Russ

    Looks like Harden is still certain on wanting out and if anything this probably means the Rockets want to speed up the process.
    His value isn’t exactly sky high mainly because of his attitude and offcourt activity.

    I could still see some interest and some decent offers.

    1. Gary Harris, Will Barton, Bol Bol, a first round pick 2020, a first round pick 2023 and a second round pick 2021.

    2. Harden and Tucker for Pascal Siakim, Norman Powell, 2020 first round pick and 2023 first round pick (top 20 protected)

    3. Tobias Harris, Mattise Thybulle, Tony Bradley, 2020 first round pick and 2023 first round pick (top 10 protected)

    If I’m the Rockets I’d take the second deal real quick.

    • hiflew

      Um, the 2020 draft is over. In fact, 2020 is over. You might as well have them acquire draft picks in 1996 or 2003 if you want to bring up past drafts.

    • MoneyBallJustWorks

      The raptors aren’t making that trade. This raptors team is not a Harden away from contention especially when you gut the team of Pascal and Powell. The raps are going to be tearing down soon. if anything the rockets should reach out to the raps about Lowry.

  4. Lakers1

    He had no problem telling management to get Howard or Paul or Westbrook or wall.. maybe he needs to look squarely in the mirror.. his style of play will never win a title.. the problem is he wants a trade now but any team that acquires him will have to gut the roster to get him.. he’s obviously out of shape and playing like he doesn’t care.. why would a team want to give up assets for a player that has quit on his team.. this is bad and I think the kyrie situation will explode as well..

    • MoneyBallJustWorks

      bingo Lakers. This guy has always wanted to be THE GUY, and now that its clear he’s not not a team player, nor good enough to do it alone he’s crying.

      I hope Houston gets something of true value for him and he has a first round exit wherever he ends up.

  5. Michaelchavez22

    Trade him to Washington for Beal or trade him anywhere that is not on his list!

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      Washington isn’t giving up Beal for him. I think I get the idea behind your thought though of sending him somewhere he doesn’t want to go to continue to make him unhappy. The problem is this dude is a diva, who also is a quitter. The Rockets are going to have a hard time getting .40 cents on the dollar for him from a destination he wants to go. So to send him somewhere he doesn’t, they’d be looking at almost zero return of value. They’ve already taken back one of the hardest deals in the league to move in the Westbrook deal, in the form of Wall.

  6. stevep-4

    Trade him to the Wizards for Beal. Then he can see what hell is like, and then he can offer a $1 buyout so he can go play with his brother from another mother in Brooklyn.

    • stevep-4

      NBA has got to stamp this trade demand nonsense out, now. Bad for the league, violation of the CBA, as well as signed contracts, and an insult to paying fans.

      • Jeff Zanghi

        I agree… just because your team isn’t a top contender every single year doesn’t mean you should immediately demand a trade. Teams have ups and downs and he’s the one who chose to sign long term with Houston in the first place. The correct and classy thing to do would have been to keep his mouth shut and just go out every night and play hard and try to win. It seems like every star (and even some borderline stars– not harden he’s a legit star but to the greater point) feel like they’re entitled to both sign long term contracts to guarantee themselves top $ and then also demand that the team win every single year no matter what. The league needs to find a way to stop all the players from holding their teams hostage. If you want the flexibility to change teams on a whim and only play for title contenders year in and year out… then only sign short term deals. You can’t have your cake and eat it too!!

      • LordBanana

        Harden did them a favor by asking for a trade. That team was clearly past it’s championship window and he gave them an out to trade their best player without getting killed by their fans.
        As a fan I have no interest watching Harden run it back yet again to no avail with the Rockets just like I had no interest watching Anthony Davis waste his career on the Pelicans. Not sure why people obsess about seeing all-stars stay on bad teams.

        • x%sure

          They do if they’re local fans not neutral fans. Silver said 40% of BB income came/comes from staging games.

  7. hiflew

    Team chemistry is not like microwave popcorn. It won’t happen in an instant. That’s why the regular season needs to be long. Chemistry can build over a season so that you are playing your best when it matters most. Harden is just trying to get out.

  8. implant

    “I’ve done all I can”. Yes you have. You’ve quit on your team, coach and city. And looks like ya put on a few pounds as well. I am so happy the Lakers finished off what the Warriors started and left this franchise in ruins

  9. GoLandCrabs

    But but Harden Westbrook MVPs said the Rockets can compete with the Lakers and it was just the refs helping LA out.

    • x%sure

      … And the refs had something to do with what Harden said at that presser, too.

    • Lakers1

      Lakers absolutely destroyed the rockets.. lakers were playing their garbage time unit the last 6 mins of 4th quarter.. wall is a poor mans westbrook and I think wood is an stat guy but not a guy that’s gonna be a winning player.. doesn’t help that harden looks overweight and is averaging 18 pts a game last 6 games.. so either he’s quit or his skills are eroding so either way it’s not looking good for the beard..

  10. "Stons" Fan

    I can see Miami taken him. If the offer Herro, Robinson, salary fillers and picks, Houston would be fools not to take that at this point. Harden, Butler, and Bam equals Finals return with shot at taking out any contender.

  11. MoneyBallJustWorks

    Showing up late to camp also doesn’t build team chemistry

  12. Yep it is

    He has become a cancer. Still hot a Cryree cancer bit heading that way.

  13. Sillivan

    According to espn
    Rockets asking price remains unchanged
    It needs two steps
    Step 1
    Get massive First round picks
    Any 5 future Firsts would be fine,
    4 team trade

    Step 1 is more important

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      No one is paying that. The dude has quit on Houston. That tells you right there that if you acquire him, you better keep him happy- or Mr. Me-First will quit on you, too. Harden is a scorer, but Harden doesn’t have the make-up to be a winner. Houston will be lucky to get two 1sts for him.

  14. El Don

    Good on Harden! All the grief y’all giving to him just for doing the right thing. Behaving like a real pro. He ain’t allowed to play at his best, if he is himself HOU will never trade him, they are forcing him to slow down… & the longer it goes on the more he will have to slow down. HOU wanted rough, well they are getting it rough.
    Feel real sorry for Harden as he is the only one behaving like a pro in all of this, one must wonder when HOU will start behaving like a pro team & finally trade him, honouring his wishes, as he deserves!

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      The right thing?! Ha ha. He’s still happily collecting that full check for those half efforts.

      The “right thing” to do if he wants out so bad would be to offer to take a buyout. Less club money though, so he ain’t going to do that. If I was Houston, I’d send him home until he breaks, though. It’s a sunk cost, anyway.

  15. Reflect

    I’m not gonna get into the trade situation itself cause other people here already covered that. But he definitely has NOT “done everything he can”. He spent half his career completely refusing to play defense… and just in the past 2 months was literally not able to contribute to his team because he chose to attend a strip club instead.

    And that’s just off the top of my head. If you want a winning culture it always starts with yourself.

  16. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    James Harden is sulking
    Ben Simmons is being Petulant

    It’s like Chocolate and Peanut Butter (at least according to the commercials)
    What do you think is going to happen?

  17. bradthebluefish

    “I love this city. I’ve literally done everything I can.” – James Harden

    Except come in with the right attitude and a body that’s in shape.

  18. JVizzle

    Harden and PJ for Deshaun Watson. No one has to sell their house that way. PJ seems like a linebacker type and maybe Deshaun can play the 2…seems like an athletic dude.

  19. DaBlow216

    C. Paul
    D. Saric
    D. Ayton
    M. Bridges
    2 First’s (protected)
    J. Harden
    E. Gordon
    PJ Tucker

    Money works

    PHX competes now and keeps Jaylen Smith who will eventually become an elite defender. Also keeps Cam Johnson to shoot Harden assisted 3’s. Those protected 1’s should be 25th picks and above because PHX is a top 5 team in NBA now.

    HOUSTON sucks and uses Paul as a expiring next year. Then Wall year after that to gain more bad contracts for more 1’s and then compete in like 2024/2025 when Cade Cunningham’s rookie deal is up for extension.

    PHX will say no to Bridges but they can keep him if they find takers for Gordon that will convey an extra pick and they provide more draft compensation for not sending him.

    • DaBlow216

      Maybe flip Gordon to IND where he went to school for Myles Turner.

      PHX Lineup


      Insane offensive efficiency, all can shoot.
      Turner can block the shots that Harden and Johnson “funnel” to him by letting guys blow past them.

      Javale would be a easy get if Turner can’t be had.

    • tjbarnaba

      No team is going to trade a player like Ayton for a waste of space like Harden. They’ll get replacement parts and some picks but not a single “star” player will be moved for this bum.

    • Howie415

      ????? Phoenix is playing really well right now. Why would they want to blow up their roster

      • DaBlow216

        Because that 5 man line up will average 140 points per 100 possessions and is actually not that bad on defense.

  20. Ironmonger835

    He’s done everything except stay in shape and not party with hookers. lol. Didn’t he make them get rid of Chris Paul to get his buddy Westbrook and when that didn’t work out they had to get rid of him?

  21. buttholesurfer69

    James Harden looked legitimately fat last night

    He’s eating away his own trade value, no pun intended

    • Little_Dunker_45

      Haha why would the pun not be intended it’s right in front of you. Just take it!

  22. Maybe the situation wouldn’t be as hopeless if Harden didn’t insist on the Rockets acquiring CP3 (with a promise to max him the following year), then (effectively) on trading him, then on acquiring RW for him, and then on trading RW.

    We’ll never know what might have transpired if Morey simply said to Harden, no! Worst case, he demands a trade then, when he was far more valuable a commodity and there were few claims on their cap space going forward.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      Exactly. At some point someone needs to stand up to one of these crybabies and just simply say- no. I’m not saying star players shouldn’t have input, but they need to show they’re good teammates first. Harden isn’t. He’s a spoiled star who’s never heard the word no, and it’s time for it to start. If he doesn’t like it, quit. Go home. Retire. He ain’t getting that Championship anyway.

  23. jt25

    I turned the game on for a bit last night and Harden looked like uncle drew from kyries movie with that belly. Didn’t look like he wanted to be playing, very unfortunate situation for player and organization only going to get more messy.

  24. raz427

    Where’s our Houston fanboy? Is he already planning on a name change on this app? LOL

  25. phillyballers

    Wall and Wood #s are up bc James is only avg 24ppg. He probably is also annoyed by not having 34ppg and being out of shape and out of the MVP hunt. I know when I am feeling fat I’m not happy too.

  26. x%sure

    Headline could have been:
    “Harden on Rockets: “We’re just not good enough… I don’t think it can be fixed””

    Instead of:
    “James Harden: I don’t think Rockets situation “can be fixed””

    There’s room, maybe even for “Harden: “We’re just not good enough… the situation is crazy. I don’t think it can be fixed””
    76 or 90 letters vs 60.

    Harden was willing to be quotable & shocking, so let him; and I would prefer with exact quotes, to prevent the look of unnecessary mangling for effect as it gets repeated.
    Most athlete quotes are dulled down or need interpreting, not this!

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