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#pounditFriday, March 24, 2023

Report: Russell Westbrook grew tired of James Harden’s attitude

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook and James Harden were optimistic about their reunion when the Houston Rockets acquired the former in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, the two superstars’ second stint as teammates did not exactly go as planned. They may not have been a fit on the court, but there were some issues between Westbrook and Harden off the court as well.

More specifically, Westbrook quickly grew tired of Harden’s casual attitude toward everything. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon published a lengthy piece on Wednesday that dug into the culture the Rockets have allowed Harden to build in recent years, and it is one that Westbrook did not approve of.

As MacMahon describes it, the Thunder “operated with the discipline of a military unit” when Westbrook was their leader. Things are much different in Houston, where Harden frequently charters private jets to party in other cities when the Rockets have a few days off between games.

In one particular instance in the Orlando bubble, Harden was late to a film session because he waited until the last second to get his mandatory COVID-19 test. Westbrook reportedly became irate and shouted at then-head coach Mike D’Antoni to “start without him!” D’Antoni told Westbrook that would just make it so the team had to start over when Harden arrived, which didn’t sit well with Westbrook.

Westbrook and Harden eventually decided they no longer wanted to play together, which is why Russ was traded. Harden also wants out of Houston, though the recent photo we saw of him at training camp may make teams even more hesitant to meet the Rockets’ asking price.

The unusual thing is that Westbrook and Harden played together in Oklahoma City, so you would think they knew what they were getting themselves into. That said, Harden was the Sixth Man of the Year in OKC. He became a full-blown superstar and celebrity in Houston. It seems like that was the main issue for Westbrook.


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