Report: James Harden threw basketball at teammate as tensions rise in Houston
The Houston Rockets could beat themselves before beating an opponent. Tensions have escalated in Houston, where James Harden has reportedly got into multiple field confrontations in which Harden threw a basketball at a teammate, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
This incident happened on Monday. Harden reportedly threw a basketball at rookie Jae’Sean Tate after a violent exchange. The ball didn't hit Tate. Harden also reportedly got into verbal confrontations with teammates on Sunday.
While any NBA team is expected to have some fights during the season, the Rockets' situation is surprising given that Harden is known as the laid-back type, according to Charania.
Interactions like this between teammates during training can be part of a normal competitive environment. However, Harden is known within the organization as a laid-back and calm personality - especially when it comes to superstars - and some in the franchise space see this as unusual given his ongoing situation.
Harden's frustration could be due to his off-season trade request. Harden announced that he would like to play for a competitor, but the Rockets couldn't find a suitable offer. Harden may have alienated his teammates further when he failed to report to the missile warehouse in time. Rather than quarantine himself in preparation for training, Harden attended rapper Lil Baby's birthday party, which no one wore masks to. Harden also reportedly spent time in a strip club while away from the team.
Rockets open the season against Thunder on Wednesday
It remains to be seen whether the Rockets' drama extends to regular season games. While Harden - and others - were nervous during practice, according to Charania, Harden is "engaging and encouraging with teammates on game nights."
That will be tested when the Rockets open the season against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. Even if the missiles remain calm during this competition, things can escalate during the team's first loss.
As long as Harden wants out, the tension around the team will not ease.
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