The Rockets thought they’d completed the deal of a lifetime when the Thunder decided to pull the trigger on the trade that sent James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, and Lazar Hayward to Houston in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and 3 draft picks. They thought they’d scored big again when former Rocket Chandler Parsons talked Dwight Howard into the Starting 5 spot for the team. With Harden and Howard as their core, the Rockets just knew they’d be contenders for an NBA Championship for the next several years. Both Harden and Howard have all of the necessary skills to turn the Rockets into a dynasty if they simply put their focus towards it.
Unfortunately, as it pertains to this offseason, all they feel like doing instead is bad-mouthing their current and former teammates.
It all started when Dwight “Burner-of-Bridges” Howard tried to rebuild one of the relationships he’d torched back in Orlando as a member of the Magic. Apparently he tried to recruit former Magic point guard, Jameer Nelson, obviously completely disregarding his previous comments regarding his former Magic teammates once he became a Laker:
“And I always tell people: Hey, my team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted, and I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face.”
Nelson, not surprisingly, served up a response that basically amounted to, “Zip your lips!”
“At some point, when are you [Dwight] gonna as a man, when are you going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner?
“I would be less of a man to comment on certain things that people comment on about me and my teammates. We had a great run as a group, as core guys, and he was a part of it (reaching the 2009 Finals) and for him to say things about anybody in a negative manner, that’s up to him.
“That’s his opinion. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”
And if Nelson’s response to Howard’s recruiting pitch is any indication, he still hasn’t forgotten, or even forgiven Howard for his choice of words. He decided to follow Parsons to Dallas and sign with the Mavericks.
No doubt Howard is feeling slighted by Nelson’s decision to follow Parsons. Not only that, but Parsons’ decision to depart Houston for greener pastures is already proving to be a wise decision at his end. When given the news that Parsons had signed with the Mavericks, Howard essentially blew it off, saying that the Rockets aren’t even going to miss him.
Harden had kept himself out of the entire affair, until he decided to double-down on Howard’s comment about Parsons, saying:
“Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we’ll be fine next season.”
Judging from that comment, Harden’s head is starting to get too big for his own good. That’s why he didn’t want to stick around OKC. Here, he was just another “role player” on a team full of them, because he knew full well that he wasn’t the star in this city. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the Thunder, Harden knew that he was never getting anything past “3rd wheel” status on this roster.
This is why Harden is no longer in OKC. He wanted to be the star of his own show, and it was never going to happen in this city. And heck, as far as I’m concerned now, good riddance!
Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder