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Rumor: Harden didn’t love Jalen Green’s comments about possibly playing with former MVP

Jalen Green offered some ambivalent thoughts regarding teaming up with James Harden on a May podcast. Kelly Iko of The Athletic suggests those comments may not have sat well with The Beard.

Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re still catching our breath from the James Harden news. Apparently the superstar has opted into his deal and is now seeking a trade from the Sixers.

Our Paul Hudrick reported:

“Now, it appears Harden is keeping his options open to play for a contender — whether that’s in Philadelphia or elsewhere. Because of league tampering rules, the Sixers were not allowed to engage Harden until he opted in or free agency began. The idea that Harden has definitely played his last game in Philly appears premature, per a league source. The Sixers will look into potential trades, but the team will only strike a deal that makes sense.

And we’ve begun to hear which teams are most hot to trot for The Beard’s services.

But one thing that has come out in the aftermath is that Harden may not have loved hearing certain comments made by Jalen Green, the Houston Rockets second-year guard.

Back in late May, right around the time it really started to feel like Harden might leave the Sixers for Houston, the Rockets no. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, was asked by Clippers’ star Paul George about the idea.

Per “The Podcast P with Paul George Show”:

George: “I feel like at this point, you’re the king of Houston. You bring on someone like James [Harden], who’s such a ball-dominant player, that’s going to hinder your growth your growth a little bit. Regardless of how it can elevate you on another level. … I feel like for you, you’ve already been through the fire.”

Jalen Green: “I agree. I think it can play both ways, like you said. It can help and hurt at the same time.”

Green added he hasn’t spoken “too much” with Harden on the pod.

Fast forward. Rockets Insider, Kelly Iko of The Athletic, jumped on “The Daily Ding” to discuss the Rockets’ offseason, and added some gossip he’s heard about that situation. According to Iko, Harden didn’t love hearing Green’s comments.

Per Iko on The Athletic NBA Show:

“That was another angle to the James thing because, I heard that he caught wind of Jalen’s podcast with Paul George and he wasn’t too keen on some of the things that Jalen was saying. This is a guy in James that came multiple summers to Houston, and took him under his wing and kind of mentored him, and kind of worked out with him and for him to say ‘it could be good it could be bad,’ he didn’t like that very much.”

Now some fans are jumping on Harden and making fun of him for caring about something so petty. And if you don’t think it impacted his decision one way or the other, then that’s fair I guess.

But if you feel the idea of Green’s comments played a factor in what’s currently going on, Harden opting in and requesting a trade, I think you’re probably missing the point. Whether Harden loved Jalen’s comments or not matters little if at all compared to the fact that the Rockets were reportedly “out of the running” to offer him the kind of salary he was seeking.

And that’s what this comes down to. If Houston made James a massive offer, we would likely have heard how excited he and Green are to play together. If the Sixers made Harden the type of offer he wanted then it would have been the salary not the pod-... well, you get the gist:

Anyway, there’s going to be plenty more gossip on this ongoing story.

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