A number of details have emerged about the preferential treatment James Harden received with the Rockets.
The Rockets stayed overnight, or extra days after games in road cities that are Harden’s favorite stops. Places like Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta feature prominently here.
The perks didn’t stop here – Harden got to fly off to Vegas whenever he got a free day off. The Friday of the All Star weekend is one of those off days for the scoring champion.
The Rockets management turned a blind eye to the whims of their star player. For the Beard was dominant whenever he took the court. The trouble came when he began to limit their on-court potential as well.
Chris Paul had bones to pick with against James Harden
According to Chris Paul, Harden became essentially useless on offense when he didn’t have the ball. Sometimes he’d barely step over half court while spectating when Paul had the ball. Harden quickly tired of Paul barking about his concerns to Mike D’Antoni.
He threatened to demand a trade away if the Rockets didn’t trade for Russell Westbrook. This trade cost the franchise their picks for the 2024 and 2026 NBA Drafts, in addition to 2 more pick swaps.
“Whatever James wants” has been the Rockets’ philosophy since James Harden arrived in Houston. That changed when he wanted to leave. Ex-Rocket assistant: “Now they have to live with the fallout.” https://t.co/ymTogDUPic
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 16, 2020
Things went south with the Westbrook pairing this year. The Rockets had to trade Clint Capela away and go super-small. This led to imbalance in the roster. Westbrook returned from Covid much worse off, and another injury in the bubble sapped him of all his effectiveness in the playoffs.
It has been a demoralizing past couple of playoffs for Harden, who now wants a trade to another contender.