Harden upset he only had hour to pick Rockets
by Scott M Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets guard James Harden is off to a rapid start with his new team, totaling 92 points in his first two games.
But the former Sixth Man of the Year suggested his departure from Oklahoma City Thunder might have been avoided had things been handled differently in a Yahoo! Sports report.
Harden expressed frustration that he only had an hour to consider a final four-year, $54 million offer.
“After everything we established – everything we had done – you give me an hour?” Harden told Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. “This was one of the biggest decisions of my life. I wanted to go home and pray about it. It hurt me. It hurt.”
Harden ultimately chose to leave a team he went to the NBA Finals with last season and parted ways with U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He signed a five-year $80 million deal with the Rockets.
But could an extra hour have really altered his decision?
He said in the report, “Who knows? Another day, who knows what another day would’ve done?”
“I was there with talented guys in Oklahoma City, some All-Star guys, and I would’ve been in the back seat there – which I was fine with – but I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to show how talented I really am. It’s a different opportunity for me here.”
Harden dismissed the talk that he made his decision for money. He felt the Rockets fit him perfectly as a natural leader and go-to player after taking a “backseat” with the Thunder as the third option behind Durant and Westbrook.
“I heard a lot of those things,” Harden said. “I heard that I was greedy; that I didn’t care about winning; heard the questioning of my loyalty. And I’m thinking: ‘Of course I want to win. I’ve been winning my entire life.’
“Everybody has their own opinion about me [as a role player and focus of a team]. I can do both: I’m versatile. Growing up in college, in high school, I was the focal point. I was the leader. I was the go-to … [For more on Report: Harden upset he only had hour to pick Rockets, click here.]