Rockets CEO denies reports of James Harden’s alleged demands
Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown vehemently denied allegations contained in a report from CBS Sports’ Ken Berger this week that suggested not only did superstar James Harden orchestrate Kevin McHale’s dismissal earlier this season but also conspired to get Dwight Howard moved at the trade deadline.
Brown, who stated that all personnel and coaching decisions involve himself, owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey, says nothing of the kind occurred.
“I can tell you unequivocally, being part of that [front-office] team, those things have never happened,” Brown said Thursday before the Rockets’ 119-105 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, via ESPN’s Calvin Watkins. “That’s frustrating, and, for whatever reason, it’s been a constant throughout this season. As we struggle and as we continue to struggle a little bit on the court, trying to get things to where we want them to be, that people have continued to take shots at our guys, take shots at our team, with unnamed sources being the ones who routinely provide that information.”
The report indicated that Harden, who is under contract with the Rockets for two more seasons following the 2015-16 campaign, pulled the strings behind the scenes to get McHale dismissed after the Rockets began this season with a dismal 4-7 record.
It was also reported that Harden asked Morey to deal Howard at the NBA trade deadline last week, and while the Rockets reportedly attempted to move the center, the team was unable to orchestrate a deal that included a coveted first-round pick.
It appears the damning allegations contained in Berger’s report rattled the Rockets front office to such an extent that Brown felt the need to grant a rare interview, to dispel not only the recent bombshell involving Harden but an earlier report concerning both Harden and Howard.
“It’s disappointing and it’s bothersome from the standpoint of, James doesn’t deserve this, Dwight doesn’t deserve,” Brown said. “This, whether it be James coming in demanding to have Dwight traded — there was an article in the last week where supposedly both James and Dwight came to management and they both wanted each other traded — that never happened. Where James supposedly came in and demanded there be a coaching change — that never happened. Dwight came in and said he wanted to be traded — that never happened. These things comes up and take a life of their own.”
The Rockets currently sit as the eighth seed in the Western Conference with a record of 29-29, a disappointment for a team coming off an appearance in the Western Conference Finals.