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James Harden apologizes for drama surrounding Rockets exit

Shockwaves were sent through the NBA even before the season tipped off when word leaked that James Harden demanded a trade from the Houston Rockets. Now, the former NBA MVP is apologizing for the drama-filled, contentious and controversial end to his time in Houston.

Calling the entire saga “draining” in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN released Friday, Harden opened up about how things played out before the Rockets finally acquiesced to his trade demand and dealt him to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster four-team deal.

“I apologize for how it went down, but I guess I had to do what I had to do in order to get to where I wanted to go,” Harden told Nichols. “… It ended up the right way. I just didn’t like how that month or two played out.”

Houston finally relented and traded Harden to the Nets following a tumultuous final days with the organization that left the team little choice but to cut ties with the superstar after eight-plus seasons.

Once the trade was formalized, Harden bid a remarkably heartfelt farewell to the Rockets organization and its fans despite the manner in which he burned every bridge with the team.

Harden’s eloquent parting message followed the Rockets bidding their own fond farewell to the one-time MVP in a series of social media posts and tributes.

Harden’s time with the Rockets closed with an unsatisfying conclusion given he was unable to lead the team to a championship. Still, it appears between his heartfelt farewell message and this most recent apology that Harden wished his tenure with the Rockets hadn’t come to such an ugly end.

With the apology out of the way, Harden presumably can leave all the drama in the past and focus solely on finding his role on the Nets.

While there have been some bumps in the road — especially on the defensive side of things for the Nets — Harden is averaging averaging 23.3 points, 11.3 assists and 8.2 rebounds in 13 games with Brooklyn as he continues to build chemistry with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.