The James Harden Situation Is Coming To A Head Very Quickly [UPDATE: It Did]
4:03 PM EST on January 13, 2021
Ha ha ha...
A very quick recap, in case the trade is happening literally as I type this: James Harden wants out of Houston. He blew off their preseason stuff in favor of going to various maskless indoor social events, and has been listless and shitty (also, from certain angles, seemingly quite a bit more rotund than last season?) since returning to action. Last night, after the Rockets got blown out by a breezy Lakers squad that never broke a sweat, Harden, who scored 16 points of 5-for-16 shooting and went minus-23 in 31 minutes of visibly checked-out play, gave what he had to know would be a cosmically bridge-burning answer to a postgame question about the state of the team:
REPORTER: James, are you surprised that you all never made a run at all in this one?
HARDEN: We're just not good enough. We just, we don't, obviously chemistry, talent-wise, just everything, you know, it's clear, like I said these last few games. They just, from the beginning of the game, they were aggressive, veteran team obviously, championship team, one of the best teams that we have in this league. I love this city, you know, I literally have done everything that I can, um, you know, this situation is crazy, you know, it's something that I don't think can be fixed, so, um. Yeah. Thanks.
If Harden's teammates took that as him saying that they are not good enough, well, I cannot really blame them! In any event that seems to be how they've taken it, judging by John Wall's and DeMarcus Cousins's comments in the tweets embedded up there. This afternoon's reports sure make it seem as though Harden will not play another game—or indeed participate in another practice—as a Houston Rocket, in part because (reading between the lines here) his teammates all want to kick his ass.
The basketball has been appalling, all across the league. Half the rostered players are on the shelf because of COVID-19 contact-tracing protocols, and all the rest of them (that are not on the Lakers) seem miserable, and are playing with all the joy of political prisoners forced to dance at gunpoint. Dudes with names like "Dakota Mathias" and "Bark Farglebargle" are getting crunch-time minutes for teams with playoff ambitions. James Harden burning the whole shit down and making John Wall and Boogie Cousins want to beat him up is the most entertaining thing that has happened in this abominable travesty of a season. All I need now is for the Rockets to swap Harden for the apparently equally disgruntled Kyrie Irving, in what would be, by miles, the most accursed trade of my lifetime.
As to that:
Ha ha ha!
UPDATE: The trade did, in fact, happen while I was typing this, and it is a doozy.