James Harden was as announced in his introductory press conference with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Three days after the long-awaited trade that brought him from the Philadelphia 76ers, the former MVP spoke to the media about the circumstances that led to his trade demand and what he hopes to do moving forward. As many might assume, he had a lot to say about leadership in Philadelphia.
After calling himself “very elitist as an individual“While he is also excellent in a team environment, Harden lashed out at the Sixers front office, saying he gave up $26 million to play for the team and planned to retire there. until they changed their mindsaying “they didn’t want me.”
The breakdown of Harden’s relationship with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey dominated coverage of his demands to leave the team, most notably when he took a microphone in China and uttered “Daryl Morey is a liar.” Another report on Wednesday indicated that Harden never plans to speak to him again.
Harden ramped up the rhetoric further on Thursday, describing his time with the Sixers as “be tied.“
“Philadelphia [was] I’m just changing my role knowing that I can give more, knowing that I can do more, but if you want me to be honest, it’s like being tied down. I knew that to get to where we want to go, I was going to have to play the best I can offensively, whether it’s facilitating and scoring the basketball, and Joel [Embiid] also. I never really had that opportunity. “I think all of that influences where I am today.”
It’s easy to make fun of that quote given that Harden led the NBA in assists last season and was a big part of the Sixers’ offense, but he also posted his lowest usage rate since 2012 (no doubt due to the presence of the NBA’s MVP. league, Joel Embiid). .
When asked to expand on the leash line, Harden indicated it was more about communicating with his coach. than actual use on the courtwhile eliminating the most circulated quote of the day:
“When I’m tied up, I don’t mean throwing the ball every time. I mean, I think about the game and I’m a creator on the court, so if I have a voice where I can [say] ‘Hey coach, I see this, what do you think about this?’ then everything is fine. Someone who trusts me or believes in me and understands that I am not a system player, I am a system.
“Someone who can have that dialogue with me, understand me, move forward, discover and make adjustments on the fly during the course of games, that’s all that really matters to me. It’s not about me scoring the ball… I already do that. I’ve done.”
Harden wouldn’t be the first person to criticize former Sixers coach Doc Rivers’ adjustments to his game.
Naturally, the “I’m not a system player, I’m a system” ended up being the most viral moment of the conference, as many people willing to paint Harden as the team’s ball-dominant disruptor seized on it as evidence that he wasn’t I had done it. He hasn’t changed. He may not have done it, but the reaction certainly seemed to vindicate an earlier pronouncement from Harden: “You’re always going to take something out of what I say and make it into a different story.”
As for when Harden will take the court with the Clippers, he said he will practice on Friday and plans to make his debut Monday in a road game against the New York Knicks. according to Athletic Murray’s law.