“Dr“Ah, it is small in right here,” James Harden remarked to himself, with a contact of disappointment, as he entered a packed convention room Thursday afternoon. Harden sat on the rostrum, trying uncomfortable because of the stifling environment. Right here he was in his hometown to make his first long-awaited public remarks as a Los Angeles Clipper after an extended, drama-filled request to be traded away from Philadelphia, maybe with much less fanfare than he anticipated.
It wasn’t precisely there Numerous Suitors are for Harden, essentially the most worthwhile participant for six seasons who has demanded a commerce from his third crew in as a few years, thus incomes a fame because the NBA’s least dependable star. He’s an offensive expertise, and is sort of universally acknowledged as probably the most gifted scoring abilities the league has ever seen. However even setting apart his tendency to be dissatisfied within the office, the 34-year-old Harden has compiled a less-than-stellar document in huge playoff moments — making him a tricky promote to 76ers GM Daryl Morey this offseason.
Morey, in fact, can also be somebody Harden has not too long ago had a public falling out with (over a contract dispute) and who Harden has now known as a “liar” at an Adidas media occasion in China this summer time (a spot he isn’t). (She was very keen on Mori herself), which did not precisely facilitate the commerce that each events wished.
Harden did not mince phrases Thursday after apply on the Clippers’ Playa Vista facility as he mentioned his departure from Philadelphia after a season and a half: “Leaving Brooklyn, going to Philadelphia, I used to be pondering I used to be going to retire as a participant,” he stated. six. The entrance workplace had different plans. They do not need me, easy as that.” He talked about the $26 million pay reduce he took when his extension with the Nets was canceled in favor of the Sixers – Allegedly a handshake deal And that more cash will come alongside, which by no means occurred – and the diminished function that got here with it.
He felt like he was “restricted” in Doc Rivers’ offense, he stated, explaining that it wasn’t about scoring, it was about feeling like he did not have a voice: that he wasn’t revered as a basketball participant. thinker. He continued by throwing not-so-subtle shade at Rivers: “Once I stated ‘restrained,’ I don’t imply simply capturing the basketball each time. He thinks the sport. I am artistic on the court docket. If I’ve a voice, somebody who trusts me, believes in me, understands me – I am not a participant within the system, I am a participant System,” He stated emphatically. “If I’ve somebody who can have a dialogue with me and make fast changes all through the sport, that is all I actually care about. It is not about getting the basketball down, or scoring 30 or 40 factors an evening. I’ve already finished that.”
Harden made certain to emphasize essential speaking factors: that he now not cares about particular person accolades (“So long as we win the sport, and everybody feels assured and good about themselves, that is all that basically issues”), and that his crew’s solely purpose now could be “to win on the highest stage.” However it was clear from listening to him discuss his former crew that feelings had been nonetheless excessive after the divorce. He appeared genuinely disturbed by the flip his lengthy relationship with Mori had taken; It is also unlucky that the Sixers did not settle for the worth he positioned on himself and did not recognize the sacrifices he felt he made for the franchise.
Whether or not it is crew hopping, overt reverence for nightlife, or reaction-worthy memes Eye rollHarden, deliberately or not, has earned a fame as being careless. However I used to be left with the precise reverse impression after Thursday’s introductory press convention. A person was sitting in entrance of me with an enormous chip on his shoulder. Somebody who did not simply care what folks thought of him and his legacy. Somebody who cares quite a bit. The drama and chatter surrounding Harden’s profitable Corridor of Fame profession shouldn’t be solely loud, it is deafening. He appears newly decided to silence the noise. When a reporter requested him Thursday if there was “something left you wish to show” throughout his tenure with the Clippers, Harden nodded decisively and responded with one phrase: “All the pieces.”