James Harden said he wasn't being 'disrespectful' in Houston, wanted to play for title with Nets

Ryan Young
·3 min read

James Harden may not like exactly how it went down, but he got his end result.

Harden, speaking for the first time on Friday after the blockbuster trade that sent him from the Rockets to the Nets, addressed his chaotic ending in Houston.

While he said has “regrets,” he made it to Brooklyn.

“I’m not the type of guy, I don't need the attention — especially negative energy, negative attention,” Harden said. “I’ve never been that guy. There were some things I feel like were out of my character. But the ultimate goal was to get somewhere where I could compete, and here I am in Brooklyn. I have nothing but love and respect for that organization, that city and everything they’ve done for me and my family. Much respect."

James Harden: ‘I wasn’t disrespectful to anyone’ before trade

Harden, less than 24 hours before the trade went down, delivered a pretty clear message.

He was done with Houston.

“We’re just not good enough,” Harden said Tuesday after their second-straight loss to the Lakers.

“I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”

Naturally, his comments — along with his long push to be traded and late arrival to training camp — didn’t sit well with some of his teammates. DeMarcus Cousins sounded off on Harden the next day, too, calling him “disrespectful.”

Harden, though, pushed back on that notion on Friday.

“I wasn’t disrespectful to anyone,” Harden said. “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 toward 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 not to the organization.”

Harden: This isn’t about money

Harden, after spending more than eight seasons with the Rockets, said he realized after they were bounced from the playoffs last year inside the NBA bubble that it was time for him to move on.

Having never made it to the Finals and seeing both coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey leave, Harden said, was enough to make him realize that he needed a change.

“After the bubble, after that loss, I wanted to re-evaluate my career, the team, where the organization was going,” Harden said, via the Houston Chronicle. "You look from top to bottom, the general manager leaving, 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.

“As much as I love the city of Houston, love being there, at that point in my career, it’s not about money, it’s not about anything else but having a chance of reaching that ultimate goal, that’s winning at the highest level.”

Houston Rockets guard James Harden
James Harden is ready to compete for a title with the Nets. (AP/David Zalubowski)

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