ESPN’s Tim MacMahon explained that the Rockets allowed preferential treatment for Harden.
“Multiple Rockets officials acknowledge that the entire organization has been ‘complicit’ in the culture that has been created over the past eight years,” MacMahon wrote.
One coach admitted the staff’s role in the issue.
“We knew who the boss of the organization was,” a former Rockets assistant coach said. “That’s just part of what the deal was when you go to Houston. The players, coaches, GM, owner all know.
“I don’t blame James. I blame the organization. It’s not his fault. He did what they allowed him to do.”
Westbrook became frustrated when Harden would constantly show up late to team events.
“Westbrook didn’t tolerate tardiness,” MacMahon wrote. “With the Rockets, scheduled departure times were treated as mere suggestions by Harden and others.
“On one occasion in the Florida bubble, Harden waited to get his daily COVID-19 testing until just before the Rockets’ film session was scheduled to start. When he wasn’t on time, Westbrook barked, ‘Start the film! Start without him!’ [Mike] D’Antoni explained that they’d just have to start over when Harden arrived, which didn’t do much to calm Westbrook.”
Harden’s behavior certainly has become an issue. Only time will tell if the only solution for Houston is to ship him away via trade.
Houston was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last season.