Following what would be his final game with the Houston Rockets, James Harden delivered some harsh criticisms about the organization in light of their 117-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. "We're not even close, honestly, to, obviously, the defending champions (Lakers) and all the other elite teams out there," Harden said. "I mean, you can tell the difference in these last two games."
"Chemistry, talent-wise, everything. It's clear," he added. "I love this city. I've literally done everything I can. It's crazy. I don't think it can be fixed. Thanks." It was those final few sentences that Shaq wanted to touch upon, now that Harden has officially left the Rockets with the hopes of greener pastures with the Brooklyn Nets.
"When you say you gave the city your all, that ain't true," Shaq said, pointing out how the Rockets' front office paired him with Dwight Howard, followed by Chris Paul, and then Russell Westbrook, but none of them turned out to be a good fit. The organization even overhauled their entire roster to play an unorthodox and unsustainable style of play that would ultimately surround Harden with shooters, and it still didn't work out.
Shaq later highlighted a few stats supporting the belief that Harden has a reputation of crumbling in elimination games. "I used to be like James. I used to come home and complain," Shaq explained. "My father said, 'What the hell did you do?' He ain't do nothing. He ain't step up when he was supposed to step up."
"When you're the man and you make all the money, you make $30, $40 million a year, it's a big responsibility," Shaq continued. "Chuck has said this many times, when you're the man, you got a big responsibility. It's all on you. When it comes time to show up, he ain't show up, so I know a lot of people in Houston are glad he's gone. Now he's got his little superteam. He gotta win this year. He don't win, it's a bust. Period."
Barkley suspects that the Nets executed this deal because they were growing tired of Irving, but if all three end up playing together, Chuck still has questions about how they will fit together since Kevin Durant is the only one in his eyes who has proven in the past that he's willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.
And speaking of those two superstars playing alongside KD, Barkley already has a great nickname for them.