Harden on why he was in Atlanta, Las Vegas: ‘I was just training.’ For? ‘The NBA season.’
James Harden sat down to talk to the media for the first time since returning to the Rockets training camp, following his clear message to the organization to trade him delay in arriving after having been seen partying in maskless in two different cities.
Harden was asked directly by Tim MacMahon of ESPN why he was not in Houston at the start of training camp and what message he was trying to send being seen partying in Atlanta and Las Vegas. The exchange is awesome.
“I was just training.”
What were you training for?
“The start of the NBA season.”
How did going to Atlanta and Vegas help you there when the Rockets’ training camp had opened?
“Just my personal trainers.”
The exchanges went on and on like this. Harden was asked if he trusted new GM Rafael Stone?
“We haven’t had a conversation.”
Harden was asked about his trade demand he talked mostly about conditioning and getting ready for the season.
“Since I’ve been here, there’s nothing that’s being said about it… Right now, I’m just focused on being here.”
Are the trade rumors swirling around him a distraction?
“Everybody in the locker room and the coaching staff is going to focus on ramping up and preparing for the season. So that’s all that matters.”
What else was Harden going to say? He’s going to say non-controversial things, try to play his way into shape, and put up numbers that will boost his trade value. The offers coming in for Harden right now are nowhere near what Houston wants in return for the former MVP, so the Rockets and Harden have no choice but to wait the market out and hope it shifts, maybe by the trade deadline and maybe next offseason.
In the short term, Harden will play with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and a revamped Rockets’ roster coached by Stephen Silas. Things will be different in Houston. The team will be good, but how good is nearly impossible to predict.
Also in the short term, expect more short, vague answers from Harden when asked about his future with the Rockets.