James Harden pens goodbye to Houston after Nets trade: 'I am forever indebted'

Ryan Young
·2 min read

Though the separation was anything but cordial, James Harden took to Instagram on Friday to thank Rockets fans and the people of Houston as his nine-year stint in the city came to a close.

Harden, after a dramatic and tumultuous start to the season, was traded to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week.

“Houston, you welcomed me with no guarantees,” Harden wrote, in part. “Took a leap of faith and it changed my life and the lives of my family forever. This organization, this city has given me everything I could ask for and more.

“Before the scoring titles long before MVP you believed. For that I am forever indebted. The city opened its arms and welcomed me and my family as one of its own, and for that I am forever indebted. I gave my mind, body and soul in hopes of bringing the glory to the city. I fell short and for that I am forever indebted. It’s far from a goodbye as I pay all my debts. TMC H-Town!

Houston fans not taking Harden’s departure well

Though Harden is “forever indebted” to Houston fans, the feeling isn’t totally mutual.

Harden repeatedly made it clear headed into this season that he wanted out, and all but publicly asked to be traded on Tuesday night after their loss to the Lakers.

In that brief interview, Harden even insisted that he had “done everything that I can” for the Rockets, but that “it’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”

Neither Charles Barkley nor Shaquille O’Neal agreed with that sentiment on Thursday night, nor did Houston fans who opted to leave horrendous — yet hilarious — reviews on Harden’s brand new, unopened Houston steakhouse.

Harden was traded to the Nets on Wednesday in a massive four-team deal that sent myriad draft picks to Houston along with Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs and Victor Oladipo.

While Harden eventually got his wish, and it’s not necessarily what the Rockets or Houston fans may have wanted, it does finally give the organization a chance to move on.

"Obviously, you could tell from the summer and since the season started that he didn't want to be here," Eric Gordon said Thursday. "For us, I think it just gives us a chance to [have] a real direction. Everyone else on the team can hone in and not worry about his situation. We can just move forward."

James Harden of the Houston Rockets
James Harden wrote his goodbye to Houston in an Instagram post on Friday. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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