After weeks of tantrums and speculation, James Harden finally got his wish. The Houston Rockets sent him to the Brooklyn Nets to join forces with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to try and win his first-ever NBA championship.
Harden mishandled the whole situation, didn't show up in time to training camp, never wanted to mesh with his new teammates, and even claimed that the team wasn't talented enough and couldn't be fixed before being traded.
He claimed that he had 'given everything to the team' and that there wasn't anything else he could do. That's why Shaquille O'Neal didn't waste the chance to destroy him on NBA on TNT for talking a lot and not backing it up on the court.
Shaq Rips James Harden, Blames Him For The Rockets' Struggles
"You know, when you say you gave the city your all, it ain't true. To say those things, keep in mind that, I have a G-14 classification to say those things. You asked for Dwight Howard, we gave him to you, didn't work out. You asked for Chris Paul, we gave it to you. You asked for some shooters, we gave them to you. You asked for Westbrook, your homeboy from little league, we gave it to you, didn't work. Then, when you say, 'I gave you everything', I say 'No, you didn't. The last five games when it comes to elimination, you shot 41%, 24% from three, 32 assists, and 27 turnovers. I used to be like James. I used to come home and complain 'Man, he didn't do anything' and my father - Rest in Piece - told me 'Well, what the hell did YOU do?'. He didn't do nothing. He didn't step up when he was supposed to step up. You know, when you're 'The Man' and all that money you make - $34 million a year - you have a big responsibility. Chuck has said it many times. When you're 'The Man', you have a big responsibility, it's all on you. So when it comes time to show up, he ain't show up. So, I know a lot of people in Houston that's glad he's gone. So now, he's got his little super team, he gotta win the 'chip. He doesn't win this year it's a bust. Period," Shaq said.
Well, that's an impeccable take right there. The fact is that the Rockets did everything in their power to help Harden win a ring. They gave him three All-NBA, All-Stars, top-notch players in their prime and he couldn't get it done.
They committed 100% to small-ball to surround him with shooters and he couldn't get it done either, and his numbers when the season was on the line were just subpar for a superstar of his caliber.
Now, Harden and the Nets are likely to make a deep playoff run, even if there are still plenty of doubts about the team's depth, defense, and how they will share touches. But even if they win the ring, it seems like it'll have a huge asterisk next to it, at least in his résumé.