Nathaniel S. Butler
James Harden has faced some criticism after forcing a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, but former Houston Rockets teammate Jason Terry came to his defense.
“I just think he’s misunderstood,” Terry said, per Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “I know those same guys who have won those championships, and they enjoyed themselves as well in the same fashion as James.”
Harden’s nightlife has been heavily discussed, with Tim MacMahon of ESPN reporting he would charter private jets to party in Las Vegas between games, leading to extra off days.
The team’s plan to handle him became “whatever James wants.”
Beyond the partying, Harden angered some teammates and fans when he said the Rockets were “just not good enough” to compete with the top contenders in the NBA.
Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal ripped Harden, adding that people in Houston were “glad he’s gone.”
The 31-year-old has won an MVP award and three scoring titles in the past few seasons with the Rockets but was unable to bring home a championship.
With the Nets, he can team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to form one of the top teams in the NBA. He is already off to a strong start, finishing with 32 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds in his debut Saturday against the Orlando Magic.
Durant scored 42 points in the 122-115 win.
“Now he definitely has the team and the guys to ride with him that give him a realistic shot to win it all,” Terry said.