James Harden may have successfully forced his way out of Houston, but not without taking a hit to his reputation.
The Rockets had built around Harden for nearly a decade, having acquired him in a blockbuster deal in 2012. And while the Thunder had three superstars on that particular roster, making Harden easy to move, it’s been quite the opposite for Houston, which had paired him with a number of role players.
But the Rockets did attempt to acquire stars to play alongside him, having acquired both Russell Westbrook and Dwight Howard. Those guys didn’t work out, though, and former general manager Daryl Morey took the heat for it, even though Harden was pleading for the Rockets to make the moves.
Houston is off to a rough start this season, though, with a 4-6 record, and having shipped Harden to Brooklyn. Former NBA big man Shaquille O’Neal is plugged in around the league, and he apparently views the move as addition by subtraction.
Given what Harden has said, and how bad the team has been this season, we believe Shaq.