James Harden apologizes for how Rockets exit went down

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3 min read

James Harden has been a member of the Brooklyn Nets for a month now, and the time has apparently come for some retrospective about the end of his Houston Rockets career.

The Nets star spoke with ESPN's Rachel Nichols about both his new team and his old team in an interview that aired Friday. He expressed some regret for how his trade request in Houston went down, calling the experience "draining."

Here's the interview:

And here's Harden's answer when asked how he feels about his last month or two in Houston:

I don't like it at all, because that's not who I am. The drama, the negativity, for me, I don't really like negative energy. It's draining, so I don't like how it necessarily happened. I feel like it could have happened a lot smoother, a lot easier, but it is what it is.

The Rockets and their fans are well aware that Harden's exit could have gone a lot smoother. The trade request hung over the team throughout the preseason and the beginning of the regular season, first when he skipped the beginning of training camp while openly partying, then publicly airing his grievances with the team. Just about every player and coach on the Rockets seemed frustrated by the situation, answering questions while the team's best player made clear how little he felt about the rest of the roster.

Harden eventually got his wish, but made no friends along the way. When asked if he would do anything differently, Harden said no, but apologized for how it all played out:

“I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, I wasn’t trying to be selfish. I feel like the front office knew where I stood and what I wanted. I 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.

Credit to Houston, they didn’t necessarily have to trade me to Brooklyn. They could’ve traded me anywhere, but those are some stand-up guys over there. It ended up the right way, I just didn’t like how that month or two played out.”

Since acquiring Harden, the Nets are 8-5 in games he's played. Playing alongside two other top scorers in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Harden has seen his scoring decrease from the 34.7 points per game he averaged in his last three seasons with Houston to 23.3 points per game with Brooklyn. He has seen more action as a distributor, currently averaging an NBA-best 11.0 assists per game.

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