Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins accused James Harden of disrespect, saying the superstar’s behavior this season has been completely unfair to the rest of the roster.
Cousins took a firm stand on virtual media on Wednesday. Previously, the Rockets traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a highly successful four-team deal that included the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers, according to sources.
Prior to the exchange, which was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the Rockets announced that Harden did not participate in Wednesday’s practice due to his harsh comments about the franchise following last night’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mr. Harden, who has been pushing for the exchange for months, has said the Rockets just aren’t good enough and he doesn’t believe the situation can be fixed, saying he has done all he can for the Rockets.
This is obviously disrespectful, but everyone is entitled to their opinion, the cousins said. We feel a certain way.
It’s the disgusting part of the activity that gets swept under the rug. You take care of some of these things. When men are in franchise or other positions, it’s usually a frustrating divorce.
Cousins, a four-time All-Star who signed a minimum one-year contract after missing most of the last two seasons due to a series of serious injuries, noted Harden’s post-game media session Tuesday night was a continuation of the MVP’s earlier disrespectful behavior.
The disrespect started long before [Tuesday night], Cousins said, arriving at training camp and showing how he did it, the antics of the field. It’s not something that suddenly happened last night, but like I said, it’s a disgusting part of the business. So be it.
Harden laid low at the start of training camp, leaving the Rockets in limbo while he partied without a mask with rapper Lil Baby in Atlanta and Las Vegas. After being late for several days, Harden had to take a negative COVID-19 test six days in a row before being allowed to participate in team activities.
The missed practice time and pre-season games were particularly problematic as the Rockets had several new key players and first-year head coach Steven Silas implemented new offensive and defensive systems.
Harden was again suspended by the NBA for four days and fined for violating the league’s health and safety protocols after a video was shown of him participating in a private indoor party days before the Rockets’ scheduled season opener, which was postponed due to a lack of available players.
The Rockets have lost four of their last five games to fall 3-6, and team sources have noticed Harden’s lack of effort lately. He averages 17.4 points on 37.8 percent of his shots – the lowest level in his eight-year Rockets career – and generally performs poorly in transition defense.
Sources told ESPN that several people in the Rockets organization were outraged that Harden seemed to point to others Tuesday night without taking responsibility for his own poor performance.
I just feel like it’s a way to do business, Cousins said. He can feel all he wants about the organization or the situation he’s in right now, but the other 14 guys in the locker room didn’t do anything to him. It is completely unfair that we have to listen to disrespectful comments and antics.
Cousins says he’s not at all happy about the drama and is trying to get his teammates to focus only on the things they control.
We know that our state of mind manifests itself every day, Cousins said. We want to come and work here, improve ourselves, lead this younger group. Whatever happens to the team, the guys that come in, that are committed, that are ready for the job, that’s who we go to war with. Whatever the results are, we can live with them. We leave everything on the field, and whatever happens, happens.
Cousins asked him if he could play with Harden again if he wasn’t traded immediately: I don’t think that’s a problem for us. I think it’s a question for him: Will he ever be able to play with us? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. Honestly, it doesn’t matter.