James Harden appears to be done with Houston.
“I love this city,” Harden told reporters after the Rockets’ 117-100 loss to LeBron James and the Lakers on Tuesday night in Houston. “I mean, this situation is crazy. I’ve literally done everything I can. I don’t think it can be fixed.”
Harden, who scored just 16 points on 5-of-16 shooting from the field, has been looking to leave Houston for awhile, and there has been consistent buzz that the Brooklyn Nets could become a landing sport for the perennial All-Star.
The Tuesday comments of Harden — who held out at the beginning of training camp — are the closest to a public trade demand he has made, though it has been widely reported he is looking to leave Houston.
The Rockets never had a chance in this one, trailing 35-14 at the end of the first quarter.
“We’re not even close, honestly, to that team — 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.”
The Nets are one of several teams who have had trade discussions for the Harden, but, according to ESPN, the Rockets are determined to remain patient until their asking price for the 31-year-old star is met.
It has been a rough season for the Rockets (3-6), who have lost four of five games since Harden’s return from a right ankle sprain that caused him to miss one game.
Harden also was fined $50,000 earlier this season for conduct detrimental to the league related to him not following the health and safety protocols put into place by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association for navigating a season during a coronavirus pandemic.
The Rockets had hoped trading Russell Westbrook for John Wall and a future first-round draft pick would mollify Harden, but the on-court chemistry between the two has been lacking as Wall admitted after the loss.
“It’s a little rocky,” Wall said. “I don’t think it’s the best it could be, that’s all I could say.”
LeBron James scored 26 points for the 9-3 Lakers.
— with AP