NBA Twitter Reacts to James Harden's Houston Rockets Tirade

James Harden's relationship with the Houston Rockets appears to be on life support after the 2018 NBA MVP lashed out at the franchise, claiming the team was "just not good enough" and that there was minimal room for improvement.

On Tuesday night, Houston lost 117-100 against the Los Angeles Lakers, suffering a second blowout loss at home against the reigning NBA champions in three days—but the result was overshadowed by Harden's comments after the game.

"I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can," he said during a brief media appearance.

"I mean, this situation is crazy. It's something that I don't think can be fixed."

Harden then suggested the back-to-back losses against the Lakers highlighted the chasm between the NBA champions and Houston, who fell to 3-6

"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, talent-wise, just everything. And it was clear these last two games."

The comments are the clearest indication Harden wants out of Houston, following months of speculations during which several outlets have reported the eight-time All-Star was looking for a trade.

It did not take long for Harden's comments to become the main topic of conversation in NBA circles, even at a time when the league is dealing with a spike in coronavirus cases.

Tim McMahon of ESPN pointed out Harden's short-lived media appearance was as close to publicly demanding a trade as he's come since rumors over his future began swirling in November.

James Harden did not take any more questions after this. That's as close to publicly demanding a trade as you can get.

— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 13, 2021

Several others questioned the disgruntled superstar's commitment to the Rockets and the 31-year-old's fitness has also been called into question, as Harden hasn't looked as lean as in the past.

Harden gave the explanation to his nine-year relationship why he's dumping them and ended it with a "thanks". the toxicity.

— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 13, 2021

James harden said this culture is awful, who’s responsible for this???? Me? Ah well never the less

— Trill Withers (@TylerIAm) January 13, 2021

"James Harden definitely had a pregame meal." 😂😂😂

— Chris Montano (@gswchris) January 13, 2021

Harden's difficult relationship with fellow superstars was also firmly back under the spotlight. In eight seasons with the Rockets, Harden has played alongside Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, who have all since moved on.

In many ways, Paul and Westbrook have come to symbolize the Rockets' recent issues. Houston paired Paul with Harden after trading for the latter in 2017, only to ship the point guard to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the summer of last year in exchange for Westbrook.

James Harden has played with

- Dwight Howard
- Carmelo Anthony
- Chris Paul
- Russell Westbrook

All either traded or released from the team

Now he’s asking to leave John Wall after nine games

who’s the real problem in houston 🤔

— Dave 🪄 (@PeakRussWest24) January 13, 2021

The 2017 MVP, however, quickly grew disillusioned with the Rockets and was traded to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall in December.

The latter seemed to rebuke his teammate when he spoke to reporters after the Rockets' loss against the Lakers.

"He's talking to his own opinion. I can't know what he thinks about the team or what he feels like we are," Wall said.

"I know how much hard work these guys put in [...] to try to get better every day. I know how much work I put into it to get back and compete at a high level.

"There's a lot of guys here that want to compete at a high level. [...] But when you have certain guys in the mix that don't want to buy in all as one, it's going to be hard to do anything special or anything good as a basketball team."

Harden has been an All-Star selection in each of his eight seasons in Houston and has developed into one of the biggest stars in the NBA, leading the league in scoring for the last three seasons and in assists in 2017.

Individual accolades, however, have not translated into an NBA title.

The Rockets have made the playoffs each year since trading for Harden, losing twice in the Western Conference Finals and three times in the Conference Semifinals, with the most recent defeat at that stage coming against the Lakers in September.

Two months later, Harden declined to become the first player in NBA history to earn $50 million a year, when he turned down the Rockets' offer to sign the maximum allowable extension, which would have paid him $103 million over two years.

Harden, who is still scheduled to make $133 million over the remaining three years of his current deal, nixed the offer amid reports he wanted to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets or the Philadelphia 76ers.

According to both ESPN and The Athletic, the Rockets have agreed to trade Harden and have held discussions with "more than a half dozen teams." At the same time, however, Houston has a specific package it wants in return for Harden and is determined not to offer discounts to interested parties.

Finding a trade partner could be harder than expected as Harden is currently in the middle of a major slump in form. The three-time NBA scoring champion, who held out of the beginning of training camp, has not scored more than 20 points in the past four games, the longest stretch of its kind since his final year with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2011-12 season.

In six games in January, Harden has scored more than 30 points just once—in a 122-119 against the Sacramento Kings on New Year's Day—and he averages 17.4 points over his last five appearances, a stretch in which the Rockets have gone 1-4. By contrast, Harden averaged 28.2 points per game in his worst month last season.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Toyota Center on January 10 in Houston, Texas. Carmen Mandato/Getty