James Harden Says Every Teammate Besides Dwight Howard Is A Role Player

The Houston Rockets came into the off-season hoping to make a splash. Instead, they lost Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in trades designed to open up cap room to acquire a max-level free agent, only to see their main target Chris Bosh return to Miami. On top of that bad luck, the Rockets turned down their option on Chandler Parsons, and he signed a near-max offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks, which the Rockets failed to match. Despite all this, James Harden doesn’t appear too worried about his team moving forward

In an interview with Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star, Harden commented on the impact of losing Parsons and other pieces on the roster:

Harden said he’s not worried that Jeremy Lin has left for the Los Angeles Lakers and Chandler Parsons for the Dallas Mavericks. “Dwight Howard and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets,” said Harden. “The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we’ll be fine next season.”

Harden’s comments are in line with what Dwight said earlier this week when he told ESPN the departure of Parsons would not affect the team at all.

In response, Parsons went on The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday and addressed Dwight’s comments, while praising Mark Cuban and the Mavs:

Parsons said Cuban’s passion about his team and the role he foresees him playing is what attracted him to Dallas.

“I think he’s the best owner in sports and just knowing the Mavericks won’t be bad as long as he owns the team was big for me,” said Parsons. “As a person he was great, one of the funniest dudes I’ve ever met in my life, and he’s very successful. But he basically told me and showed me how I’d fit in the Mavericks style, how I’m a priority for them, they view me as a franchise player and think I can do big things there. He believes in me.”

After Parsons left, former teammate Dwight Howard said his departure “won’t affect us at all.” Parsons said the comment didn’t bother him, but it was “ridiculous.”

“I know he didn’t mean it. He’s one of my closest friends,” said Parsons. “He’s got to be confident with the Rockets moving forward with or without me there, so I understand where he’s coming from. I think it’s a ridiculous statement, but at the end of the day, he has to stick up for the Rockets and I don’t think he meant it in a bad way and didn’t try to bash me at all.”

The first matchup between the Rockets and Mavs should be very interesting next season. It’s worth mentioning Parsons refused to castigate Dwight after his supposed friend — and the player who worked the hardest to bring Dwight to Houston when he was a free agent last summer — said his departure won’t affect the Rockets at all. That’s either a very good friend, or a player itching to throw it in Houston’s face when they face off in a Texas rumble next season. When the schedule comes out, you’re gonna wanna circle those dates.

What do you think?

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