Things are not going well for James Harden and the Houston Rockets. The team is 3-6 on the season and got rinsed by the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night — they fell behind by as many as 30 points before ultimately losing, 117-100. In the midst of the on-court product not being good, Harden’s trade demand looms large over the team, and the Rockets’ reported ultra-high asking price means there hasn’t been much speculation on that front.
All of this seemed to boil over after the loss the the Lakers on Tuesday. Harden, fresh off of a 16-point performance, gave a startling quote the the assembled media in Houston that appeared to come of as a goodbye, regardless of whether a trade is imminent.
James Harden: "We're just not good enough. We don't, obviously, chemistry, talent-wise, just everything, and it was clear these last few games…" pic.twitter.com/4bTcaK7TDv
— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) January 13, 2021
“This situation is crazy, it’s something that I don’t think can be fixed,” Harden said. “So, um, yeah. Thanks.”
He then proceeded to get up and walk out of the press conference, but that was not all that he had to say. Harden spoke about the current state of the team, which he thinks is nowhere near where it needs to be, and stressed that he loves the city of Houston, even if he wants to move on to greener pastures.
Harden on the #Rockets compared to other "elite teams."
"We're not even close. You can tell the difference in these last two games."
Pretty strong reinforcement of his trade demand tonight.
— Michael Shapiro (@mshap2) January 13, 2021
James Harden says Rockets are "just not good enough … 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."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 13, 2021
Despite all of this, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that Harden is staying in Houston for the time being, as there’s nothing on the horizon regarding a trade.
James Harden's aware that the Rockets are continuing to discuss trade scenarios with teams, although no deal is imminent, sources tell ESPN. Houston's asking price remains steep, as you'd expect it would for a player of Harden's caliber. https://t.co/I4RuHgzcvU
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 13, 2021
It seemed inevitable that Harden would eventually get to the point of being super frustrated with how things are going, but nine games is pretty quick to go nuclear like this. Now, the thing to watch is whether the timetable for a trade gets moved up, or if Harden decides to take a more extreme measure like staying away from the franchise as his tenure with the Rockets comes to an end.