James Harden appears to be on his way out of Houston, but his teammates certainly do not sound like they will miss him.
Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins ripped into Harden on Wednesday after he was asked about his All-Star teammate’s comments following a 117-110 loss to the Lakers in which he criticized the rest of the team as not being good enough and that the situation “can’t be fixed.”
“The disrespect started way before any interview,” Cousins said. “Just the approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, the antics off the court. The disrespect started way before. This isn’t something that all of a sudden happened last night. That being said, this is the nasty part of the business. It is what it is.”
Cousins was not done there, either, taking issue in particular with Harden dragging his teammates through the mud in his postgame comments.
“It’s a way about handling business. He can feel however he wants to feel about the organization or whatever his current situation is, but the other 14 guys in the locker room have done nothing to him,” Cousins said. “For us to be on the receiving end on some of the disrespectful comments and antics it’s completely unfair to us. We’ve done nothing to him. We’ve shown up to work, just like everybody else, and came in ready to work. Like I said, it’s completely unfair to the rest of the guys in the locker room.”
Harden has reportedly been upset with the direction of the team since the end of the season following the departures of head coach Mike D’Antoni and GM Daryl Morey, but has not explicitly stated his unhappiness until Tuesday night.
It was clear, even before Cousins’ blunt assessment, that Harden’s relationship with his teammates was reaching a boiling point.
John Wall, whom the Rockets traded for prior to the start of the season, could not help but admit that it has been “a little rocky” playing with Harden.
It is possible Harden is no longer with the Rockets by the end of the day on Wednesday, as trade talks continue to gain steam with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.
Cousins, though, said this is all part of the business and sometimes this is how things end with star players.
“Obviously, it’s disrespectful but everybody has the right to their opinion,” he said. “We feel a certain type of way about his actions. This the nasty part of the business that kinda gets swept under the rug. You deal with these type of things and when guys are in position to be franchise players, or whatever the case may be, it’s usually sometimes a nasty breakup.
“… We know what our mindset is every day: come in and work, get better and lead this younger group regardless of what’s going on with this team, the guys who are showing up, committed, bought in to the task at hand. We gonna go to war with those guys and whatever those results are we’re gonna live with. We’re gonna leave it all on the floor and whatever happens, happens.”