Following weeks of uncertainty, a late training camp arrival, missed games and COVID-related missteps, James Harden's eight-plus year run with the Houston Rockets finally reached its awkward end in January when he was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets. While he ultimately got what he wanted, the former NBA MVP recently revealed that he feels remorse for the way in which things played out with his former team.
"I don't like it at all because that's not who I am," he told ESPN's Rachel Nichols when asked about the events preceding the trade. "I feel like it could have happened a lot smoother, a lot easier, but it is what it is."
As relayed by The Inquisitr, Harden had reported to Rockets camp two days after his teammates had already begun preparing for the forthcoming 2020-21 campaign. When pressed for details on what motivated his tardiness by members of the media, he failed to elaborate beyond stating that he had been training.
At the time, the eight-time All-Star and three-time league scoring champion had been in Atlanta for the birthday party of rapper Lil Baby. He also traveled to Las Vegas where he was witnessed socializing at night clubs, an affront to the league's health and safety protocols amid the ongoing pandemic.
Harden was later fined $50,000 after video footage of him maskless at a club was reviewed by the league.
These incidents all occurred as he was seeking a fresh start with a new organization and had reportedly requested a trade out of Houston.
The situation reached its boiling point on January 12 when, after a 17-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Harden declared his club wasn't in a position to compete for an NBA title. He further opined the situation wasn't one that could be fixed.
In the wake of those remarks, the Rockets swiftly moved to send Harden to the East Coast where he joined Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with the Nets.
Although he was apologetic for what transpired during his final days in Houston, Harden stopped short of saying he should have done anything differently during his ESPN interview. Instead, he believed the ends justified the means.
"Apologize for how it went down, but I guess I had to do what I had to do in order to get to where I wanted to go," he told Nichols.
The Nets star went on to credit his former club for getting him to the destination of his choice, referring to Rockets decision-makers as "stand-up guys."