John Wall: James Harden remains a team leader despite trade demand drama
The drama and disruption caused by James Harden’s demand that the Houston Rockets trade him has had no impact on his role as team leader, so insists John Wall.
There has been abundant evidence that the Harden saga is ripping the Rockets organization apart at the seams, with the latest evidence alleging that the disgruntled star has had multiple practice confrontations with teammates since reporting late to the training camp on Dec. 8.
Wall, however, dismissed the notion that Harden has been a disruptive presence as the team prepares for its season-opening game Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“At the end of the day, we can’t focus on what James does off the court,” Wall said, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “All we know is he comes in every day. He works hard. He’s been one of the leaders of our team in this locker room. That’s all we can ask for.”
Wall was put in a precarious position when the Rockets acquired him from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Russell Westbrook. The move was believed to be an effort by the Rockets to appease Harden and convince him to withdraw his trade demand, but it quickly became clear that wasn’t the case.
In fact, things have only devolved further since the Wall trade, with Harden seemingly at the point where sharing cryptic messages on social media have become part of his playbook.
For what it’s worth, Wall entered the Rockets-Harden saga feeling positive that his arrival would assuage his new teammate’s soured feelings about the organization. He eventually walked back that stance, however.
John Wall on James Harden: "Whatever he’s going through, he’ll get through it and make the decision that’s best for him, and I think the front office will do the same." That's a big step back from Wall previously saying that Harden "for sure" wanted to be in Houston.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 10, 2020
It looks like the Harden saga will continue for now as former MVP is expected remain in Houston at least in the short term. That said, anything could happen given the unpredictability of Harden and uncertainty that continues to surround the situation.