James Harden Discusses Exit From Houston

It has been nearly a month since word broke that the Nets had reached a deal to acquire James Harden, a move that was preceded by a press conference in which the former MVP declared that the Rockets were just “not good enough” and that he didn’t believe the situation in Houston could be fixed.

In a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (video link), Harden reflected on his actions during the weeks leading up to his exit from Houston, from his trade request to his late arrival at training camp to that final press conference. He admitted that the way his last month or two with the Rockets played out isn’t how he envisioned his eight-year tenure with the franchise ending.

“I don’t like it at all, because that’s not who I am,” Harden said. “The drama, the extra — whatever you want to call it, the negativity. I don’t really like negative energy, it’s draining. I don’t like how it necessarily happened. I feel like it could have happened a lot smoother, a lot easier, but it is what it is.”

While Harden would’ve preferred a cleaner break with the Rockets, he also told Nichols that he wouldn’t necessarily want to go back and do things differently, since the outcome was ultimately the one he wanted.

“I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, I wasn’t trying to be selfish. I feel like the front office knew where I stood and what I wanted,” Harden said. “I apologize for how it went down, but I guess I had to do what I had to do in order to get to where I wanted to go.”

When Harden’s trade request first broke in November, he was said to be focused on getting to the Nets. The Sixers were later reported as a favorable landing spot, and he eventually added several more teams to his wish list, but he told Nichols that he appreciated the Rockets being able to work out a trade that sent him to the destination he preferred from the start.

“Credit to Houston. They didn’t necessarily have to trade me to Brooklyn,” Harden said. “They could’ve traded me anywhere, but those are some stand-up guys over there. It ended up the right way. I just didn’t like how that month or two played out.”

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