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#pounditTuesday, May 11, 2021

Articles tagged: James Harden

James Harden responds to Antoine Walker criticism over style of play

James Harden

James Harden did not think much of recent criticism of his style of play from longtime Boston Celtics forward Antoine Walker.

Walker recently praised the Celtics for not getting involved in Harden trade talks, telling the “All Things Covered” podcast with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden that Harden’s style of play did not translate to wins in the NBA.

“I don’t think you can win with his style,” Walker said, via Jasmyn Wimbish of CBS Sports. “Any time it takes a guy six, seven, eight dribbles to get to where he has to go, that’s a problem. It works today because it’s more of a pick-and-roll league, so he gets away with a lot of things now, but I would not leverage my future for James Harden.”

On Sunday, Harden was asked about Walker’s comments, and dismissed them with one sentence.

Walker has credibility in Boston, where he’s a widely-respected figure. That won’t matter much to Harden, who has been outstanding for the Nets since being traded from Houston. All he really needs to do at this point is let his play do the talking.

James Harden shares thoughts on reception he might get in Houston

James Harden

James Harden is returning to Houston on Wednesday night for the first time since he forced the Rockets to trade him, and it will be interesting to see how the Brooklyn Nets star is received at the Toyota Center. It sounds like Harden is hoping for a warm welcome.

In an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews on Tuesday, Harden spoke about his return to Houston and said he hopes to be “received with love.”

“The love and the appreciation that I’ve given to that city and that I still give to that city, I’m hoping that the favor can be returned,” Harden said.

The Rockets tried to repair their relationship with Harden before trading him, but the former MVP was not interested in making it work. He told Andrews that he never thought he would leave Houston but realized he had “different goals.”

“The communication between myself and the front office got a little shaky,” Harden said. “And now I look back at it and I see these other scenarios, other situations that are happening, specifically around other players that are in Houston, in different sports. And their transition is going very smooth. And I would’ve hoped for mine to go that smooth, but it didn’t. I am where I am now.”

Harden has donated money and resources to the Houston area in the wake of the winter storms that devastated the region recently. He said he still feels like he is part of the community and wants to help in any way he can.

We’d expect Harden to get a mixed reaction on Wednesday night, though the Rockets are doing their part to keep things classy. While Harden was a great player in Houston for eight seasons, he wasn’t exactly graceful on his way out the door. Some fans aren’t going to forget that.

Twitter divided over Rockets’ decision to retire James Harden’s jersey

James Harden

James Harden will be getting his No. 13 jersey lifted to the rafters in Houston, and it is leading to a mixed bag of reactions from the Internet.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said on Tuesday that the team plans to eventually retire Harden’s number.

“James Harden will always be a Rocket,” he said, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “Of course, we will retire his jersey. He made my first three years of owning this franchise unforgettable. The success he brought this franchise over eight years and the memories he created for our fanbase/community [are] truly remarkable.”

Many on Twitter thought that the honor was well-deserved for Harden.

Others, however, questioned the team’s decision, citing Harden’s lack of playoff success.

The Rockets have retired a total of six jersey numbers in the 54-year history of their franchise: Calvin Murphy, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Rudy Tomjanovich, Clyde Drexler, and Yao Ming. Three of those players (Murphy, Malone, and Yao) never won a ring with the team.

For Harden’s part, he accomplished a lot in his eight seasons with Houston. He made the All-Star team in every single season, earned seven All-NBA selections, led the league in scoring three times, led the league in assists one time, and won NBA MVP in 2017-2018. Harden also led the Rockets to four division titles and two conference finals berths, including a narrow seven-game loss to one of the greatest teams ever assembled in the Kevin Durant Golden State Warriors.

Regardless of how Harden’s time in Houston ended, those accolades are more than worthy of a jersey retirement. Still, one of those aforementioned Rockets legends sitting in the rafters may not exactly agree.

Nets pursuing James Harden’s ex-Rockets teammate?

James Harden

Each passing day seems to bring us one step closer to seeing the Brooklyn Rockets fully incarnated.

Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported on Friday that the Nets are among those who have inquired about the availability of Houston forward PJ Tucker. The Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets are the other teams that Iko mentions.

For Tucker, who is in the final season of his contract, a move to Brooklyn would certainly place him around some familiar faces. Current Nets James Harden, Jeff Green, Iman Shumpert, and Chris Chiozza were all teammates of his in Houston. Tucker’s former Rockets head coach, Mike D’Antoni, is also on the Nets’ coaching staff as an assistant.

Tucker is on the cusp of turning 36, and his numbers are down across the board this year. But he is the perfect 3-and-D role player for a star-studded team like Brooklyn. It definitely does not hurt either that he has been in the playoff trenches before with much of the Nets ensemble. However, Tucker may actually have an even better chance to contend elsewhere.

DeAndre Jordan downplays sideline argument with James Harden

James Harden DeAndre Jordan argument

The Brooklyn Nets have lost their last three straight games, and some of their players do not appear to be on the same page.

New Nets acquisition James Harden got into an animated argument on the sideline with teammate DeAndre Jordan during Tuesday’s double-digit loss to the Eastern Conference-worst Detroit Pistons. The disagreement appeared to be about a lack of communication on the defensive end.

After the game, Jordan downplayed the incident when asked about it.

“I don’t even remember it,” said Jordan, per NetsDaily. “We talk so much during the game. But yeah, we have conversations about defense, offense, spacing, communication. Whatever we’re talking about is for the success of our team.”

Both players are still finding their footing in Brooklyn’s new pecking order. Harden was acquired from the Houston Rockets last month, and the team has given up a hideous 121.8 points per game since his arrival. Meanwhile, Jordan had been coming off the bench behind Jarrett Allen but is now back to starting for the Nets after Allen left in the Harden trade.

Brooklyn is dealing with some other drama right now as well, so they have obviously hit a rough patch of sledding for the time being.

Udonis Haslem hints he did not want James Harden on Heat

Udonis Haslem

The Miami Heat’s pursuit of James Harden ultimately fell through, and their most respected veteran actually sounds pretty pleased that it did.

Appearing this week on “The Complex Sports Podcast,” Heat big man Udonis Haslem indicated that he did not want Harden on the Heat.

“I knew we wasn’t gonna get him,” said Haslem. “I mean, you can’t bring James Harden to Miami. As much as I wanted that to work out, in my mind, I was like, ‘Ain’t no way.’

“I would’ve aged 15 years trying to be his O.G.,” the 40-year-old Haslem continued. “He would’ve had to move me into the guest house.”

Harden, who ended up being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, is a former MVP winner and one of the marquee players in the NBA today. But he also comes with major concerns about his off-the-court antics as well as his work ethic.

The Heat pride themselves on their culture based around hard work and accountability. Haslem has been a bedrock of that culture for the last 18 seasons. Thus, his concerns about Harden’s fit in Miami are hardly a shock.

Ex-James Harden teammate calls him ‘misunderstood’

James Harden

James Harden has become one of the bigger villains in the NBA today, but one of his former teammates does not agree with that characterization at all.

Retired NBA guard and current University of Arizona assistant Jason Terry discussed Harden in an interview with Zach Braziller of the New York Post over the weekend.

“I just think he’s misunderstood,” said Terry. “I know those same guys who have won those championships, and they enjoyed themselves as well in the same fashion as James.”

Terry also said that, while Harden liked to have a good time, he also understood the importance of team bonding and camaraderie over a long season. He also said that, if anything, Harden brought the team closer together by organizing nights out.

The 43-year-old Terry played 19 seasons in the league. Two of those were with Harden on the Houston Rockets from 2014 to 2016. They were a playoff team in both years, including a Western Conference Finals berth in 2015.

Harden’s partying is a bit more problematic in the current climate. But it does not sound like Terry is concerned about Harden’s overall ability to be a good teammate on the Brooklyn Nets.

Look: James Harden looking skinny for his Nets debut

James Harden fat

James Harden looked out of shape and unmotivated when he began the season with the Houston Rockets. He already looks like a different person — literally — in his debut for the Brooklyn Nets.

Harden was photographed during warmups before the Nets’ game against the Orlando Magic on Saturday. He somehow appeared to be noticeably slimmer, especially compared to how he looked recently.

So what is going on here? Was that just a good angle in the Nets photo? Were the other two photos from him with the Rockets deceiving? Or did Harden go on a huge hunger strike as part of his demands to get traded?

It was only a week ago that an announcer was taking a shot at Harden over his weight. Now he looks great and in shape. That’s big news for Brooklyn.

James Harden wore a ridiculous outfit for his Nets debut

James Harden

James Harden will make his Brooklyn Nets debut on Saturday night, but the star guard made some sort of statement before he even set foot on the floor.

Harden’s bizarre choice of outfit, particularly his shirt, got plenty of attention as he arrived for Saturday’s game. The look was variously compared to a kitchen apron, a diner tablecloth, and a blouse.

One thing is certain: Harden looks to be in pretty good shape here. At the very least, it’s a far cry from what he appeared to look like earlier in the season.

Believe it or not, this may not even be the strangest pregame outfit Harden has put on display in his NBA career.

Report shows just how close Sixers came to acquiring James Harden

James Harden

A James Harden-Daryl Morey reunion in Philadelphia actually came a lot closer to happening than you might think.

Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer reported Friday that the 76ers thought that they had a deal for Harden done. Pompey adds that Morey, the team’s general manager, pushed hard to acquire the former MVP. The agents for Sixers youngsters Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle even informed their clients of an expected trade.

Harden instead ended up going to the Brooklyn Nets in a multi-team blockbuster. The trade ultimately sent guard Victor Oladipo, forward Rodions Kurucs, and a large haul of picks back to the Rockets.

It does seem rather head-scratching on paper why the Rockets accepted a package based around Oladipo and Kurucs instead of a seemingly superior package headlined by Simmons and Thybulle.

But as for why the trade with the Sixers ultimately fell through, we have a pretty good idea of that much.