James Harden’s time in Houston has come to an end, but DeMarcus Cousins didn’t let the disgruntled superstar leave without throwing one final jab at his now-former teammate.
After an offseason of demanding a trade, coming to training camp late and out of shape, partying away from the team, and making numerous head-scratching comments during media appearances, Harden was finally shipped to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for a plethora of draft picks, among other incoming and outgoing pieces in the four-team trade.
The trade talks ramped up following Harden’s bizarre postgame interview Tuesday night where he said the Rockets were “just not good enough” and added the situation was one he “(didn’t) think can be fixed” before walking away from the podium.
“We’re just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise, everything, it’s clear,” Harden said. “… I love this city, I’ve literally done everything that I can. This situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed. Yeah, thanks.”
When asked about the situation and Harden’s imminent departure, Cousins was quick to note that he did not sign with the Rockets to play with the eight-time NBA All-Star and former league MVP, he signed with Houston to reunite with former Kentucky teammate John Wall.
When it came to the other “disrespect” shown by Harden, Cousins couldn’t care less.
“Me, personally, I don’t feel betrayed at all. My interest was playing with John Wall, to be brutally honest,” Cousins said. “The disrespect started way before any interview. The approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, the antics off the court, the disrespect started way before. This isn’t something that all of a sudden happened last night. It’s the nasty part of the business, it is what it is.”
"I don't feel betrayed at all. My interest was with playing with John Wall, to be brutally honest."
DeMarcus Cousins on if he feels betrayed by James Harden. pic.twitter.com/yRlyOFw0In
— ESPN (@espn) January 13, 2021
After months of off-court issues, Harden’s actions come at no surprise for the former Kentucky center, and neither did the “nasty breakup.”
“Obviously it’s disrespectful. But everybody has a right to their opinion. We feel a certain type of way about his actions,” Cousins said. “But this is the nasty part of the business that kind of gets swept under the rug. You deal with these types of things, and when guys are in positions of being franchise players or whatever the case may be, it’s usually sometimes a nasty breakup.”
Cousins’ comments come after Wall told reporters that there were “certain guys in the mix that don’t want to buy in,” adding that Houston has an opportunity to “do something good” together if the entire roster is on the same page.
“At the end of the day, a lot of guys here want to compete at a high level. When the 1-15 guys are all on the same page, they’re committed to their role, they know what they want to do, they want to win, you’re fine,” Wall said. “But when there are certain guys in the mix that don’t want to buy in all as one, it’s hard to do anything special, anything good as a basketball team. I’ve been on teams in my first five years where it was all about “me, me, me, me,” not about the team. That hurts and brings everybody. If we can all get on the same page, we can do something good here.”
With Harden now out of the picture, the Rockets – led by Wall and Cousins – now have that opportunity.