In each of James Harden's eight seasons with the Rockets, he has led them to the playoffs as one of the NBA's best scorers. But after yet another failed campaign in the playoffs, it seems both Harden and the Rockets have reached their breaking point.
As more details emerge regarding the state of his tenure with the franchise, things have only gotten worse and there really doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
For James, things have gotten so bad, that his reputation may be permanently damaged. As one rival executive put it, there are concerns about the kind of impact he has on a team's culture, really casting doubt on his status as a Championship player.
“It just f–ks up your whole organization,” said one high-ranking official from a team that has pondered the Harden possibility.
“Harden is a terrific scorer, but not a champion,” said another front office executive. “He isn’t a two-way player and (he’s) hard to play with. …He is so used to getting his own way, I think there are concerns he can negatively affect a team’s culture.”
For as great as Harden has been individual, team performance has been another story.
Whole H-Town has been a steady playoff team for almost a decade now, the Rockets have yet to squeeze past the Conference Finals despite having stars that include Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook.
With a long track record of underwhelming finishes and plenty of stars having left in disgrace, the blame is shifting to Harden now, who has already requested a trade from the team some say he has destroyed.
Whatever your opinion on the matter, the Beard has a long mountain to climb if he wants to re-gain the standing he lost with the NBA community over the past few weeks.