It certainly appears as if James Harden played his final game for the Houston Rockets last night.
After a 117-100 home loss to the Lakers, Harden said, “I love this city. I literally have done everything I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
Although his unhappiness and demand for a trade has been known for months, Harden hasn’t really commented on the matter publicly. He has scored fewer than 20 points in four consecutive games, the longest such stretch for the perennial All-Star guard since the 2011-12 season when he played for Oklahoma City.
With last night’s defeat in which the Lakers raced out to a 35-14 lead by the end of the opening quarter, Houston fell to 3-6 on the season.
“We’re not even close, honestly, to [the Lakers] — obviously the defending champions — and all the other elite teams out there,” Harden said. “I mean, you can tell the difference in these last two games.
“We’re just not good enough — chemistry, talentwise, just everything. And it was clear these last two games.”
Harden’s media scrum obviously didn’t sit well with the franchise, which told Harden to stay home from practice earlier today.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets will keep Harden away from the team until it completes a trade. They have been patient to date on waiting to find the best offer, but Wojnarowski has tweeted that talks are heating up with both the 76ers and the Nets.
Brooklyn has its own issues with Kyrie Irving, the mercurial guard who is an elite player but an absolute knucklehead. Irving won’t be able to play anytime soon as the NBA investigates a social-media video that shows him without a mask at a party recently. Irving could get sent into a 10-day quarantine period by the NBA.